Reflections on European Romanticism(s) in the Visual Arts: State of Research and Future Perspectives
Almost 100 years ago, in 1924, Arthur O. Lovejoy raised the fundamental question of whether Romanticism could be characterised as a comprehensive movement that transcended national and linguistic borders. Lovejoy’s critical reflections on the diversity of Romanticisms have met with divided responses. While some researchers, notably René Wellek (1949), believed that they could identify enough common characteristics in the Romanticisms to speak of one movement, others shared and supplemented the reservations Lovejoy had formulated. More recent comprehensive monographs on Romanticism demonstrate that the issue is still controversial today. The European dimension of Romanticism and, thus, the commonalities between its different national manifestations are elaborated once again.
In relation to Romantic art, the situation is by no means simpler or clearer. Here, the question of whether to talk about several independently considered Romanticisms or one European Romanticism has seldom been asked. Art historical research on Romanticism is open to interdisciplinary dialogue to a large degree but only selectively crosses the boundaries of respective language areas. A research history characterised by national discourses could be responsible for the impression that pictorial Romanticisms seem to show irreconcilable differences. Possible overarching similarities hardly come into the focus of research, not least because too little is known about more recent work and discussions on Romanticisms in other languages.
The conference aims to take a close look on this problem and explore current tendencies in Romantic studies. We focus on significant questions, theoretical and methodological conjunctures as well as blind spots in recent research. By concentrating on painting, drawing and printmaking, we address those art forms in which Romantic impulses are probably most evident.
The conference programme will follow shortly.
Funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG – German Research Foundation)