Romanticism and Realism

Romanticism and Realism


Modernization has positively propelled life and at the same time caused its repression. Different artists of different ages have come up with means and ways of expressing both sides. A utopia is a form of fine art embedded in the belief in the perfection of life, criticizing repressive actions in the past and at the same time giving directions on how society should exist in the future. Various scientists in the present age have used romanticism to challenge modernity and its dehumanizing impacts.

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To support the idealization of nature and technology, Ken Goldberg criticized the modern state of self-independence where people mind their businesses and do not care about the affairs of other people. He used his Utopian art project Telegarden to create a pool of visitors using the website to control the Robot arm to water, plant, or tend the seedlings. Through this system, the visitors joining the virtual community on the internet were required to plant the seedlings of other people before having the privilege of planting their seeds. This action propagated unity in the society and drove the dystopian notion that the internet as a technology divided people (Rinehart, p14-15).

Through his art project, Goldberg seeks to have a combinatory approach to a technologically advanced world, yet one in which essential features like nature and humanity were cared for. This unique project allowed users across the world to interact virtually in gardening, which is a nature-based initiative, as well as being able to water the plants that other users planted, thus facilitating social interactions among humankind.


Various artists, like Richard Mosse, engage in realism and seek to criticize the political, social, and cultural dynamics of life. Through their works, they reject traditional forms of art, social organization, and literature in the wake of the industrial revolution and renaissance of humanity. By replacing literary perceptions of traditional art and idealistic paintings with real-life events, these artworks brought social changes and transformed the way people viewed things.

Richard Mosse, a conceptual documentary photographer openly brought his belief in countering the problem of immigration in the United Kingdom. By collaborating with Ben Frost and Trevor Tweeten, a cinematographer, they recorded people from a distance of 18 miles who were trying to cross the border to the United Kingdom. Modernity brought regional bordering of nations – people in different countries were isolated from each other until legal procedures were followed. These include the acquisition of passports and legal traveling documents. Mosse used the military camera to create spectacular artworks on some issues facing the world.

In his artwork, he uses the same ideology shared by Avant-Garde, the originator of the realism concept, in which life and art merge, countering the pre-existing notions of the ideal world. Through this artwork, Mosse brings attention to the ongoing global crisis within the political boundaries, which needs attention. The illustration of the immigrants late at night, disguised and looking cautious brings to light a representation of the millions of journeys made by migrants and refugees from the Middle East, Europe, and Africa every year.

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The camera was used because of its accuracy to view missiles from long distances; Mosse used this military camera to create multiple artworks. This realistic artwork by Mosse shows the influence of modernity on the suffering of humanity. People have to suffer moving in the cold dark and concealing environments to sneak illegally into Europe. Some people do not make it in the process and are either caught by the law enforcers or die from attacks by wild animals.

Comparison between realism and romanticism


Both tendencies of withdrawal and engagement, as often used in romanticism and realism respectively, were used to counter challenges faced by the world. Goldberg, for instance, combines the use of robotics in his projects and applies it from the ecological perspective, trying to reconcile the disputes arising from the notion of technology destroying nature. He thus produces a fundamental belief that technology can coexist with nature in a better way if good measures are practiced. Moreover, Goldberg demonstrates that technology can be a constructive social tool, as many users would interact with each other in the virtual gardening project. In the same light, realism artists use modern photography to highlight immigration problems faced by the world. While the creation of political boundaries created immense benefits in most cases, realism artworks, such as those of Mosse, show how people suffer when illegally sneaking to foreign countries. In bringing such a matter to present awareness, realism thus seeks to provide solutions for existing problems in the modern world.

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Unlike romanticism, which uses idealization to define problems like ecological issues as well as the adverse impacts of technology using utopia, realism seeks to present life as it is, for instance, by featuring present issues like illegal migrations. Realism uses facts to define problems and the information is direct while romanticism has limited disclosure of information, for instance, while Mosse captures a real-time event of immigrants trying for to sneak into a country, Goldberg allows users to interact using a robotics interface. Romanticism is set in the temporal environment where it uses present, and past or considers the future happenings in analogy with the criticism while realism uses a contemporary setting. Realism focuses on intermediate problems and analyses them to provide solutions. In romanticism sometimes exotic settings including distant lands may be used – for example, using a robotic arm to water a garden. Whereas, in realism, settings are known to be prosaic – for example, the immigration involved people from other foreign countries trying to sneak into Europe.

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