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Dickenson, Goya and Beethoven: Romantics

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Besides the mere dates of their creation, what specific traits define the following works of visual art, literature, and music as Romantic, based on your understanding of this era?

Moonlight Sonata - Ludwig Van Beethoven

The Third of May - Francisco Goya

I cannot live with you... - Emily Dickinson

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Solution Summary

Discussion of three works in three genres by three artists: Dickenson, poetry, Goya, painting and Beethoven, music. What characteristics make each of these works belong to the romantic era in which they were created.

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Romanticism evolved as a reaction against the Enlightenment era that preceded it. In the enlightenment, people (artists, musicians and other creative types, even architects) focused on the light of learning, or the near-worship of mathematics and the sciences. The thing was the intellect, and emotion was considered to be flawed, faulty and frivolous.

Romantics, however, valued the human, emotional element of things - it was not important unless the feeling and mood was there. Science and the bare, stark flatness of the intellect was rejected as soulless and unnatural. Love was king (and queen) and emotion was sitting on the throne.

Beethoven represents a romantic musician because he was the first popular and famous musician to play the piano (forte or strong) instrument. Prior to him, the harpsichord was the most popular keyboard instrument, and it had a light, tinkling, cheerful and feminine sound. It was popular for both ladies and men to play it. Beethoven, however, especially in his keyboard music like Moonlight Sonata, absolutely ATTACKED the ...

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  • BFA, University of Georgia
  • BSEd, University of Georgia
  • MED, University of Georgia
  • EDd (IP), Northcentral University
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