Introduction | Task | Process


Romanticism was an artistic movement that impacted all of the arts -- visual art, music, and literature. Your job is to determine exactly what that means. What is Romanticism? What does it mean to call a piece of art Romantic?


With a partner, you will explore resources available on the Internet. You will compile your findings into a "paperless" project -- "The Declaration of Romanticism."


You need to familiarize yourself with artwork, music, and literature from the Romantic period. To make this easier, I have grouped web sites according medium (art, music, or literature). You will explore these web sites, taking notes and answering the questions. Next, you will compile the information you learn into a "Declaration of Romanticism."

Water Lilies, Claude Monet


  1. Visit Tyger of Wrath: William Blake at the National Gallery of Victoria. Click on the image. You will be taken to a site with frames. Click on "View Works of Art." Agree to the conditions for access. Explore several of William Blake's works of art. What are your feelings or responses to his art?
  2. View the art of Eugene Delacroix. Describe the subject matter of his art.
  3. View the art of Claude Monet. Make sure to see "Waterlilies," "Poplars on the Epte," and "Later Impressionism." Describe how these works demonstrate the "Five I's" of Romanticism you learned about at the start of this unit.


  1. Read an article about Romantic music. Write down at least three things you learned from the article.
  2. Listen to Romantic music selections from the radio blog to the right. Write down any emotions that come to mind as you listen. Close your eyes and concentrate on the images the song suggests as you listen. Write these down.
  3. Follow at least one composer link from the article about Romantic music. Write down at least three things you learned about that composer.


  1. You've read a good deal of literature from the American Romantics. Read through Thomas Hampson's profile of Emerson, especially the quotes. How does Ralph Waldo Emerson embody Romantic ideals?
  2. Read Hampson's profile of Whitman. Describe the powerful influence Romantic music had over Walt Whitman's writing.
  3. Read Hampson's profile of Thoreau. How does Henry David Thoreau express Romantic ideals?

Declaration of Romanticism

Henry David Thoreau
  1. Review the Declaration of Independence from your textbook.
  2. Brainstorm a list of characteristics that seem important to Romantics. You are going to write a document similar to the Declaration of Independence, only you are going to declare the right to be Romantic! For example, you might write something like this:
  3. Now make a list of things that obstruct Romantic ideals. Using the example above to illustrate, you might write something like this:
  4. Turn these thoughts into a short paper - at least one page typed, 12-point, Times New Roman (or other normal) font. You can use "I" and "my," but "you" is off limits.
  5. Here is the fun part! Transfer your Declaration of Romanticism onto something related to Romanticism, but NOT PAPER. In other words, to continue with my example using "Idealism," in the movie Citizen Kane, the main character's last word is Rosebud. Over the course of the movie, we learn about how Kane became a power-hungry media magnate. He is cold, and we wonder if he truly feels anything. However, we also learn that his childhood sled had the word "Rosebud" painted on it. The sled became a symbol for an idealistic childhood. I'm not suggesting you use anything as elaborate as a sled. Choose an object that in some way represents Romantic ideals to you. Thrift stores are great. Buying something there will enable you to write on it without destroying an object precious to you. Stretch your imagination. Recopy your Declaration (using a permanent marker) onto your object.

This web quest was written by Dana Huff and is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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