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Neoclassicism vs Romanticism

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The ages of Neoclassicism and Romanticism brought completely opposing aspects of life, ideas, and lifestyles to our world through the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century.

When trying to understand the two time periods, it is easier to acknowledge and comprehend the differences by thinking of Neoclassicism as a linear style, and Romanticism as a painterly style. Along with choosing these words to describe the lifestyle of the time periods, ironically, these are the art forms that these artists actually chose to paint in. First, let’s discuss the two words; linear and painterly. If you were to ask any paint artist about these two terms, they would explain linear as having the form of a line and made in a step-by-step logical manner. Next, they would tell you that painterly is the characteristic of the painting and seeing the “paint” for what its true color and structure is. When comparing this to society’s way of life, Neoclassicism followed a more linear and logical way of life. Just like the linear painting style, neoclassicism followed more of a direct line with step-by-step processes. The neoclassical age followed intellect, instead of senses. This time period was focused on reason, extroversion, and social issues. Poets in this time period paid their attention and skill to traditional procedures and formal rules. To make this even easier to understand, this age adhered to anything that could be verified, was familiar to most and was commonsensical. Now, similar to a painterly art style, the Romanticism age focused on the true nature and emotion of the person. Unlike Neoclassicism, romanticism had a great interest in senses and sensuality. In this time period, society found personal visions and imagination of high importance. Romantics indulged in the celebration of life as it was and natural passions.

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As much as I wish I could choose one lifestyle over the other, my opinion on which of these time periods I see myself living in must stay neutral. To differentiate between the two, I thought to myself “Head vs. the Heart”. In my life, I actively live as both a neoclassic and romantic. I live as a neoclassic by following strict order in my life, resulting in productivity and meeting my priorities. Living as a neoclassic gives me assurance because everything stems from knowledge and concepts that can be proven. I personally do not like the feeling of doubt, so living this lifestyle of Neoclassicism eliminates the doubt factor in my life. An example of how I live a neoclassic lifestyle is how strict my diet and my workout regimen are. I created myself a “health plan” based on scientific reasoning that has been proven to give me results. On the other hand, I see myself as a romantic due to my beliefs, interests, and ways of life. Ironically, I am an artist and most of my pieces are done in a painterly style. This leaves room for creativity and imagination. I find feelings very important and listening to them when making decisions is imperative. Just like romantics, I believe that expressing feelings and one’s imagination through art, literature, and music is such a beautiful gift. An example in my life of romanticism is shown through my song lyrics and unique drawings and paintings. The only time I draw or paint is for the simple purpose of expressing my feelings in a beautiful and visual manner.

Living as either a romantic or neoclassic can bring you many benefits and insights. To decide which time period you would relate to most, think to yourself, “should I listen to what’s in my head? Or feel what is in my heart”. I personally can see myself in both time periods, living a life of discipline while wearing my heart on my sleeve.

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Neoclassicism vs Romanticism. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from
“Neoclassicism vs Romanticism.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
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Neoclassicism vs Romanticism [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2024 Mar 5]. Available from:
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