Examples of Romanticism in Literature, Art & Music

, Staff Writer
Updated December 1, 2020
The Grand Canal painting romanticism example

Joseph Mallord William Turner "The Grand Canal"

    Joseph Mallord William Turner painting The Grand Canal
    Heritage Images / Contributor
    Used under Getty Images license

The term romanticism refers to the period in history during which an artistic and philosophical movement changed the perceptions of people in the Western world. This period of time, often referred to as the Romantic Period, ran from the 1770s into the second half of the eighteenth century and resulted in the creation of a multitude of significant and influential literature, music, art, and philosophy. Explore Romanticism examples found in literature, art and music.

Understanding Romanticism Literature Examples

Romanticism in literature covers books, stories and poetry. The primary concepts explored during the Romantic Period included nature, myth, emotion, symbols, and ideas about the self and individualism. Some examples of romanticism include:

  • the publication Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth and Coleridge
  • the composition Hymns to the Night by Novalis
  • poetry by William Blake
  • poetry by Robert Burns
  • Rousseau's philosophical writings
  • "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman
  • the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • the written works of William Wordsworth
  • poetry by Mary Tighe
  • novels by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • works by German romantic writers such as Ludwig Tieck, Heinrich von Kleist, Friedrich Holderlin, Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff, Clemens Brentano, Achim von Arnim
  • "Der Sandmann" by E.T.A. Hoffmann
  • Das Marmorbild by Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff
  • a collection of folktales titled Des Knaben Wunderhorn
  • Grimms' Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm
  • Hans Christian Andersen's folk tales
  • mythology written by Jacob Grimm
  • poets such as John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Black, and John Clare
  • Rene, a novella by Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand
  • classics such as The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
  • poetry by Alfred de Musset, Alphonse de Lamartine, Gerard de Nerval, and Theophile Gautier
  • George Sand's novels and criticisms
  • novels by Stendhal such as The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma
  • written work by Konstantin Batyuskov, Vasily Zhukovsky, Nikolay Karamzin, Alexander Pushkin, Michael Lermontov, Eugene Onegin, Ruslan and Ludmila, Fyodor Tyutchev, Yevgeny Baratynsky, Anton Delvig, and Wilhelm Kuchelbecker
  • Polish poetry by Zygmunt Krasiński, Juliusz Slowacki and Adam Mickiewicz
  • Spanish poetry by Mariano Jose de Larra and Gustavo Adolfo Becquer
  • Don Juan Tenorio by Jose Zorrilla
  • Folhas Caidas by Almeida Garett

Art Romanticism Examples

The art of Romanticism focused on emotions, spirituality and imagination. It typically included landscapes covering nature, rebellion and childhood. Another common theme included peaceful beauty. Examples of art in Romanticism include:

  • Caspar David Friedrich's paintings: "Morning in the Riesengebirge," "Monastery Graveyard in the Snow," "Wanderer above the Sea of Fog," "Solitary Tree," "Eldena Ruin," "Man and Woman Contemplating the Moon"
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner's paintings: "Dido Building Carthage of The Rise of the Carthaginian Empire," "Staffa," "Fingal's Cave," "The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons," "The Grand Canal," "Rain, Steam and Speed"
  • Jacques Louis David's paintings: "Bonaparte Crossing the Alps," "Cupid and Psyche"
  • John Constable's paintings: "The Hay-Wain," "The Leaping Horse"
  • Eugene Delacroix's paintings: "Dante and Virgil in Hell, Massacre at Chios," "The Death of Sardanapalus," "Liberty Guiding the People"
  • Henry Wallis' oil painting: "The Death of Chatterton"
  • Francesco Hayez painting: "The Kiss"
  • Theodore Gericault’s painting: "The Raft of Medusa"
  • Thomas Gainsborough’s painting: "Blue Boy"
  • Francisco Goya paintings: "The Third of May 1808," "1814," "The Second of May 1808,"
  • Philipp Otto Runge's painting: "The Morning"

Examples of Romanticism in Music

Like with literature and art, musical romanticism sought to explore emotional expression. However, it also experimented with musical forms to enhance the originality of the pieces. Some of the great musicians of the time period include Beethoven, Chopin and Schubert. Explore examples of Romanticism in music:

  • Beethoven's Symphony No. 9
  • Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 5 in Flat B Major
  • Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique
  • Chopin's Waltz in D Flat
  • Verdi's Rigoletto (Act III) La donna e mobile
  • Max Bruch’s Concerto for Violin No. 1 in G minor
  • Puccini’s Nessun Dorma
  • Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in Bb minor
  • Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words
  • Franz Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor
  • Dvorak’s Symphony No. 4

What Is Romanticism?

In simplest terms, Romanticism was an artistic movement in the 18th and 19th centuries where artists, musicians and writers began to explore common themes including natural beauty, raw emotion and imagination. It came about in reaction to Enlightenment and took trends from medieval romantic periods. Pieces of work from this period had characteristic elements like nature, aesthetic beauty, eroticism, and the supernatural.

Seeing Romanticism at Play

If you read or encounter any of these materials, you will now know that they are examples of romanticism. Romanticism created beautiful pieces of art, literature and music still harled to this day as masterpieces. This movement led to other significant periods like Gothic literature and art.