'It was in the 1930s that the Italian writer & art historian Mario Praz (1896-1982) first highlighted the dark side of Romanticism, thus naming a vast swathe of artistic creation, which from the 1760s onwards exploited the shadows, excesses & irrational elements that lurked behind the apparent triumph of Enlightened Reason.
This world was created in the English Gothic novels of the late 18th century, a genre of literature that fascinated the public with its penchant for the mysterious & the macabre. Many painters, engravers & sculptors throughout Europe vied with the writers to create horrifying & grotesque worlds: Goya, Géricault, Füssli & Delacroix gave substance to the ghosts, witches & devils of Milton, Shakespeare & Goethe, whereas C.D. Friedrich & Carl Blechen cast the viewer into enigmatic, gloomy landscapes.
From the 1880s many artists picked up this legacy of Dark Romanticism, turning towards the occult, reviving myths & exploring new ideas about dreams, along with the horror stories of Poe & Barbey d’Aurévilly. After the First World War, Surrealists took unconsciousness dreams & intoxication as the basis for artistic creation, thus putting the finishing touches to the spirit itself of Dark Romanticism. At the same time, the cinema seized on Frankenstein, Faust & other masterpieces of this genre that are now firmly established in the collective imagination.' (Excerpted from Musee d' Orsay 'The Angel of the Odd' exhibition, currently showing).
William A. Bouguereau Barrias/Nature Reveals Herself
My favorite sculpture at Musse