Art influences Culture: Romanticism & Realism Essay

June 14, 2021 by Essay Writer

This essay shows that the relationship between romanticism and realism arts. It shows how realism originated as a reaction to romanticism. In addition, the paper also highlights issues of the time and influences of the later works on the art world.

Art has provided new genres in history based on the prevailing social conditions in society. The trend has continued today among people interested in the field of arts. From the past, there are romanticism and realism genres that exist to explain events of the two periods.

These two genres refer to similar subjects in human society, but adopt different views in portraying their subjects. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the relationship between romanticism and realism. Romanticism presented a perfect world with supernatural power, whereas realism originated from reality in which characters and settings were elements of the real world.

Romanticism gained recognition in the middle of the 18th century. This genre of literature explored the unknown, and it did not adopt rational approaches to literature.

Instead, it presented the world as a perfect and strange place in which there was no imperfection. Romantic Movement reacted to changes that the Industrial Revolution had brought as people began to explore the unknown in society. Romanticism aimed to establish the unknown truth.

Romanticism presented the world as an ideal place in which the hero had all the desirable positive qualities. Conversely, the villain possessed undesired negative traits.

This genre adopted the use of metaphorical elements in order to present the unknown. In other words, nothing was obvious, and people had to explore further in order to understand the true meaning of an event. Romanticism literature had thrilling and mysterious elements.

These features of romanticism dominated literary works of the time. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is a good example of romantic art. Emily uses the Earnshaw family, especially Heathcliff and Catherine as the epitome nature (Eagleton, 2005).

These characters do not observe ideals of the society, but rather acted based on influences of their passions. Conversely, Thrushcross Grange represents the culture of the society at the time.

Realism reached its peak towards the end 18th century and extended to the early 19th century. This form of art focused on reality rather than fantasy of the romanticism. In this regard, realism was a reaction to romanticism.

Realism presented events of the society as they happened in reality. This form of art did not capture any extraordinary events, and it did not rely on a glorified language, but rather used simple language in representing events. Artists of realism based their works on obvious concepts of life.

Therefore, realist writers did not embellish their works in order to hide gory themes in society, and in most circumstances, they did not present happy solutions to their readers.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert reflects the true nature of realism because Flaubert always insisted on finding the precise word to reflect reality of society. In fact, James Wood notes, “Flaubert established for good or ill, what most readers think of as a modern realist narration, and his influence is almost too familiar to be visible” (Wood, 2008, p. 39).

These genres have transformed society in all aspects. Realism and romanticism brought about changes in thought processes of later artists. Contemporary artists have adopted realist approaches in order to present events of the modern society. Moreover, such works inspired later artists who fully or loosely based their works on past literary movements.


Eagleton, T. (2005). Myths of Power: A Marxist Study of the Brontës. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wood, J. (2008). How Fiction Works. New York: Picador.

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