SYDNEY.- The exhibition Printmaking in the Age of Romanticism offers a rare opportunity to see some 150 works of art from the Gallerys collection of European prints. A number of works will be on display for the first time and many have not been publicly displayed for decades.
Printmaking was a major aspect of the Romantic Movement. Eminent Romantic artists such as William Blake and J M W Turner, Géricault and Delacroix all turned to printmaking in one form or another for its unique capacity to produce aesthetic effects impossible in other media.
Drawing from an area of real strength in the European print collection, the exhibition features works by these leading figures together with Samuel Palmer, Henry Fuseli, John Martin and Edward Calvert. The exhibition also includes the work of less well known artists such as Gustave Doré, Rodolphe Bresdin and Charles Meryon, who rejected painting altogether to pursue their original visions in the field of printmaking.
The emphasis of the show is on works produced in England and France in the decades before 1850, the heyday of the Romantic Movement. The exhibition also reveals how romantic tendencies in art persisted throughout the 19th century and concludes in the late 1870s with the work of Corot.
The prints cover an amazing variety of subjects from dramatic scenery, seascapes and ruined abbeys to wild animals and scenes from literature and contemporary life executed in a range of printmaking media.
Romanticism emerged in the closing years of the 18th century as a powerful force in the development of European music, literature and painting. One of Romanticisms most enduring legacies is the popular image of the artist as free spirit. Above all, Romantics believed in the primacy of the imagination over reason. Romantic artists were united in their belief that art should be a matter of personal feeling, charged with their own loves and loathings, fears and hopes, dreams and longings.