Timeline Description: The Romantic Era (also known as Romanticism) was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that began in Europe at the end of the 18th century and peaked between 1800 and 1850. Writers, artists, and thinkers did not see themselves as part of a "Romantic movement," but their work was a distinct revolt against the social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and the scientific changes of the Industrial Revolution. Adherents emphasized the importance of emotion over rationalization as a means of accessing nature.
|1794||Francisco Goya completes Yard with Lunatics.
Spanish artist Francisco Goya completes Yard with Lunatics, one of a string of dark paintings concerned with madness and fantastical nightmares. The painting reflects Goya's own mental breakdown, which occurred shortly after France declared war on Spain.
|1808||August Wilhelm von Schlegel's lectures spread Romantic ideas.
The German poet August Wilhelm von Schlegel gives a series of lectures in Vienna in 1808, later published as Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature (1809 - 11). In the lectures he attacks French Neoclassical theater and praises Romantic drama. His lectures are translated into many languages and help spread Romantic ideas throughout Europe.
|1812||J.M.W. Turner completes Hannibal Crossing the Alps.
English Romantic artist J.M.W. Turner completes Hannibal Crossing the Alps, using watercolor techniques with oil to create lightness and atmospheric effects. The piece comments on the destructive power of nature.
|1812||The Grimm brothers publish their first collection of fairy tales.
In 1812, brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm publish Children's and Household Tales, later known as Grimm's Fairy Tales. Despite the title, the stories serve as a collection of traditional folktales that are often dark and not meant for children. The tales inspire other collectors to see folktales as embodying the spirit of a country, thus inspiring early feelings of nationalism.
|1818||Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein anonymously.
At the age of 21, Mary Shelley anonymously publishes Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus, based on a story written for a competition proposed by Lord Byron. The work concerns a failed attempt at artificial life, and is widely seen as a warning on the transformations of man under the Industrial Revolution.
|July 1820||John Keats publishes his third volume of poetry.
In July 1820, John Keats, already renowned as a Romantic poet, publishes his third volume of poetry, which is widely considered to be his best work. The poems deal with mythical and legendary themes of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance times, and are rich in imagery and phrasing. The volume includes some of Keats' most famous pieces, including "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and "Ode to a Nightingale."
|August 1820||Percy Bysshe Shelley publishes Prometheus Unbound.
The Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who is married to Mary Shelley, publishes Prometheus Unbound, based on Aeschylus' plays about the Greek mythological figure Prometheus. The four-act lyrical drama, which is never meant to be produced onstage, deals with Prometheus' release from captivity.
|February 1824||Ludwig van Beethoven completes his Ninth Symphony.
German composer Ludwig van Beethoven, seen as bridging the transition between Classical and Romantic music, completes his Ninth Symphony in February 1824. This symphony is seen as Beethoven's masterpiece, and it features intellectual depth and intense, highly personal expression.
|1827||James Fenimore Cooper publishes the first of his Leatherstocking Tales.
American writer James Fenimore Cooper publishes The Prairie, the first of his Leatherstocking Tales concerning the hero Natty Bumppo. The books are inspired in part by the real-life Daniel Boone, and romanticize the already-mythic American frontier.
|1830||Eugène Delacroix completes Liberty Leading the People.
French Romantic artist completes Liberty Leading the People, arguably his most famous painting. The piece commemorates the July 1830 revolution in France that toppled King Charles X, and emphasizes freely brushed color rather than the precise lines of previous schools of art.
|1831||Alexander Pushkin publishes Boris Godunov.
Russian poet Alexander Pushkin publishes his play Boris Godunov, written in blank verse, but Russian censors do not approve its staging until 1866. It concerns the Russian Czar Boris Godunov, who reigned from 1598 to 1605, and inspires Mussorgsky's 1874 opera by the same name.
|1845||Edgar Allan Poe publishes The Raven and Other Poems.
Poet and fiction writer Edgar Allan Poe publishes The Raven and Other Poems in 1845. Poe is seen as the creator of the modern short story as well as horror and detective fiction, and he is one of the first American writers to become a major figure in world literature.
|1846||Frédéric Chopin completes his last polonaise.
Polish composer Frédéric Chopin completes his last piece in a series of polonaises, composed for solo piano. The polonaises, along with Chopin's mazurkas, are based on traditional Polish music and inspire a feeling of nationalism.
|December 1847||Emily Brontë publishes Wuthering Heights.
Writing under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, Emily Brontë publishes Wuthering Heights in 1847, a year before her death. The novel conforms to traditions of Gothic romance and features Romantic themes of the wildness of nature.
|March 6, 1853||La traviata is first performed in Venice.
Italian Romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi completes La traviata based on a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, and the opera is first performed on March 6, 1853 in Venice. The opera concerns a famed courtesan dying of consumption.