Road to Romanticism
Romanticism represented a revolt against the social and political notions embraced by the philosophes of the 17th and 18th century Enlightenment; therefore, Romantics opposed the scientific rationalization of nature. Whereas the Enlightenment exalted reason, Romanticism revolted against reason and exalted subjectivity; it became an epochal shift of consciousness that emphasized subjective emotions, imagination and the primacy of the individual and basic human sensitivities and feelings.
Romanticism sought a new world order; its expressive ideology was intended to redeem society from the false illusions of Enlightenment promises that led to the French Revolution, Reign of Terror and Napoleonic excesses that had caused despair, resignation and disillusionment.
The Romantic Movement served to awaken society to the failed promises of the Enlightenment and the subsequent inequalities and injustices that remained after the chaos. Humanity was in pain, and the artistic expression of that agony within the genres of the Romantic spirit provided relief and hope; Romantic artists expressed their world-view in their respective oeuvres with truthful emotion and intense drama.