Exposing Rationalism - DescriptionAs Europe entered the nineteenth century, those forces that would shape her political and cultural destiny were already in place. From 1799 to 1815 the most powerful figure in Europe was Napoleon Bonaparte. During his meteoric rise and fall France was at war with the rest of Europe, and after his defeat Europe's political structure was changed forever.
Some artists were interested in painting contemporary, topical events, not only as a depiction of that particular event, but also as an exploration of the passionate emotions and truths that underlay it. In the eyes of these artists, the illumination of the Enlightenment had been dimmed by the atrocities of their age.
Ranging from historical paintings to portraiture, there was a fundamental shift in the concept of what art was supposed to depict. Images of physical and emotional violence, madness and struggle sought to portray man's inhumanity to man and the loss of reason they felt defined their age.
Contributed by Gifford, Katya