Saturday, July 24, 2010


We recently visited the Albertinum Art Museum in Dresden.  Before this visit you were instructed to locate themes and archetypes of the Romantic Era.  In a 4 paragraph blog, please:  (Paragraph 1) discuss your overall impression of the museum and your reaction to all of its holdings and (paragraphs 2-4) discuss the examples of visual art that illustrate the themes of Romanticism discussed in our classroom lectures.  Please include names of specific paintings and their painters (including birth and death dates).

             My overall impression of the museum was of course, amazement. As an art therapy minor, I’ve taken quite a few painting and drawing classes, and I have a tremendous respect for those artists who can convey an emotion without saying a word. If I remember correctly, it was our 4th day here and I was still high on the newness of Germany, so I was soaking up every detail and it took me awhile to make it through the entire museum.  I got a tear in my eye as I stood in front of an original Van Gogh, thinking about the 20 times I started over on my blank canvas, trying to re-create his ‘Vase With Irises’. I also freaked out when I saw Monet’s ‘Jar of Peaches’ because I’ve practiced Monet’s techniques for semesters at a time and still have years of technique to learn, but I’ve only had calendar prints to practice with.

              We saw many different types of art, including incredibly ‘modern’ art, which consisted of canvases with one solid color, huge cubes of nothing but office equipment, and statues of woman with no faces and no arms. Then we also saw classical style portraits of royal families, abstract art with blobs of paint in swirls, art with paint AND textiles, photography of people, photography of landscapes, etc. There was a large variety, but a few jumped out at me as specifically ‘Romantic’ because of the feeling it left with me as I walked away.

           I chose 3 works, and the first was Franz von Stuck’s “Paradise Lost”  (1863 – 1928) because it contained a mythical or imaginary character among people. The angel is clearly dominating the scene, and the humans seem scared or frightened? Maybe they have done something they are ashamed of; maybe the angel is coming with good news but the man & woman are just startled, the specific story is left unsaid. The romantic aspect is the heavenly being among the mortals, the supernatural character. The title gives me the impression that these two are actually Adam & Eve because Romantics used many supernatural and biblical stories as artistic inspiration.

                 The second was Caspar David Friedrich’s ‘The Cemetary’, (1774 – 1840) partly because we’d talked specifically about Friedrich in class, but also because it contains many key romantic ideals. A nature aspect is the most obvious detail, but also the fact that it is a painting of a snowy cemetery also gives you the ‘completely alone’ aspect. Maybe the cemetery really is empty? Or maybe what we are looking at is a view from someone’s eyes, standing alone in that cemetery?

          The third was Hans Unger’s ‘The Muse'  (1872 - 1936 )because, again, of the nature aspect, but also the pensive stare in her eyes and the fact that she is alone. It let me imagine what she was thinking and feeling, giving her a story. This woman is clearly emotional, but where not sure why, giving her a mysterious and exotic look.

p.s. although it wasn’t painted in the ‘romantic’ era, I really liked ‘Frozen Ocean’ by Ena Swansea, it has many romantic characteristics.

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