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Intro

Landscapes of Romanticism

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that emerged in Europe towards the end of the 18th century. The movement can be interpreted as a reaction against the Industrial Revolution, the social changes that occurred at the time, as well as the scientific rationalization of nature during the Enlightenment.

 

Ausstellungsansicht Romantik
Alexandre Calame »Idyllische Uferpartie an der Rhone vor Avignon«, without year, Inv.-Nr.5-303
François Diday - Pont du Diable, o.J.

François Diday - Pont du Diable, o. J.

Johann Gottfried Steffan »Ufer am Gardasee in Oberitalien«, 1846, Inv.-Nr.5-724

In the visual arts, the emphasis on emotions as well as the glorification of the past and the worship of nature played a significant role. The representatives of Romanticism were interested in the sublime and the associated sense of unattainability and immensity. Feelings were considered the source of aesthetic experience, whereby not only admiration but also horror and fear found expression in the artworks. In landscape painting, the focus was laid especially on the relationship between the sublime, the overwhelming nature and the human being, who appeared insignificantly small in comparison.

Artists such as Alexandre Calame (1810 - 1864) and Gustave Eugène Castan (1823 - 1892) recognized sublimity especially in the forces of nature and equated them in their depictions with almost religious experiences. Their dramatic landscapes show imposing and sometimes frightening natural surroundings, which symbolize infinity, longing and awe. Others, such as Johann Gottfried Steffan (1815 - 1905) and François Diday (1802 - 1877) focused on the depiction of mystical landscapes instead, characterized by an atmospheric and transcendent mood of light.

Ausstellungsansicht Romantik
François Diday - Pont du Diable, o.J.

François Diday - Pont du Diable, n.d.

François Diday - Pont du Diable, n.d.
Oil on canvas
49,5 x 39 cm

This painting by the Geneva artist François Diday shows the Teufelsbrücke (Devil's Bridge), a place surrounded by Swiss folk legends, from an impressive perspective. Upstream, the view leads up to the bridge, which, with its distinctive chiaroscuro (light-dark painting), appears like a gate between the foreground and background. The sky, the back valley and the mountains in the distance are already bathed in light, while in the deep river valley night still seems to reign. The rising sun is hidden by a rock covered with bushes, but individual rays of sunlight reach the bridge, shining on it from the bright and enticing valley in the back. Two small figures in the lower dark half of the picture illustrate the potential power of nature and the mountains they face. A man in red trousers stands on a large rock with his back to the viewer and a stooped figure descends to the river bed. The standing man suggests a sense of depth, as the viewer can identify with him looking into the picture, and thus experience the spatiality of the scenery and the sublimity of nature.

Ausstellungsansicht Romantik