Varieties of Romantic Experience: Drawings from the Collection of Charles Ryskamp

Cover, Varieties of Romantic Experience: Drawings from the Collection of Charles Ryskamp

Written by Matthew Hargraves

Essay by Charles Ryskamp

Published by the Yale Center for British Art in association with Yale University Press

344 pages, 11 x 9 1/2 inches, 210 illustrations, cloth, ISBN 978-0-3001529-2-0

Publication date: March 16, 2010


In 1824, the Scottish painter David Wilkie wrote to the director of the French Royal Museum, “It is time to show that the arts are cosmopolitan and that all national prejudice is foreign to them.” In spite of Wilkie’s appeal, never before have Romantic drawings from across northern Europe been gathered together in one exhibition. This volume, which accompanies the ambitious exhibition of the same title, takes up Wilkie’s challenge by considering Romanticism as a truly international phenomenon, bringing together 200 British, French, German, Danish, and Dutch works on paper from the outstanding collection of Charles Ryskamp, director emeritus of the Pierpont Morgan Library and the Frick Collection in New York. This beautifully illustrated book charts the Romantic exploration of the worlds of nature and the imagination in a series of thematic chapters. They describe the changing relationships between northern European artists in the early nineteenth century, the Romantic thirst for direct communion with nature, and the acceptance of the powers of the imaginations. Above all, the book and exhibition highlight the wide varieties of Romantic experience, from the impact of neoclassicism to the first stirrings of realism.

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