Having been deeply inspired by all things tragically romantic throughout the summer and more recently by Pre-Raphaelite art pieces, I wanted to learn more of the neo romanticism movement, a genre at which some of the art pieces showcased within Coventry Cathedral fall under.
During the 1920’s young British artists began to re-discover the work of their Romantic predecessors. With the outbreak of Second World War, Britain’s national existence was severely threatened, thus the government sought to encourage a sense of patriotic sense of identification with our fine British landscapes and monuments.
In 1940, a scheme was launched to create drawings, paintings and prints at war fronts, monuments, the land and the lives that have been changed, thus creating a permanent record of life during war, a memorial to the national effort. This scheme became ‘Recording Britain Project’ and employed the country’s finest artists, resulting in over 1500 beautiful yet evoking watercolours.
The arts produced were that of romantic vision, reviving landscapes and architecture, embracing the most dramatic of nature’s effects. A distinctive style arose embracing an otherwise diverse group of artists – the British landscape became central to a new nostalgic pastoral vision which was broadly expressed through the language of Cubism – sometimes adopted with intellectual and sometimes more decorative aims. Instead of creating art from a sheer realist, objective observation, the neo romantics incorporated their own feelings and spirit into the work they created. Themes of heartbreak, nature reclaiming ruins, haunting landscapes, beauty, romantic death, memories and love, were all tragic elements explored within the works, all expressed through figurative rigor. And so Neo Romanticism was born, exemplifying romantic minds and practices, including music, literature and art.
Romance, elegant waif-like females with long flowing hair, tragedy and death have all been sparks of inspiration, and could be extremely titillating elements when creating my own imagery. I could recreate legendary tales or poems of heartbreak and angst like in the works by Pre-Raphaelite J. W. Waterhouse or create some beautiful fashion inspired images. With this in mind I went onto research fashion photographers who shoot in certain locations, capturing beauty in both the subject and surroundings, and have even been inspired by neo romanticism elements.