Religion and Spirituality
Science and Technology
Art, Literature and Music
Painting, Sculpture and the Graphic Arts
The graphic arts were dominated by the continuing trends from the Georgian
period, captured, for example, by Jacques-Louis David's portraits of the
Revolution and Joseph Turner's dramatic oil paintings depicting scenes
of stormy weather.
David was a highly influential French painter in the Neoclassical style,
and his cerebral brand of historical painting marked a change in taste away from Rococo frivolity
towards a classical austerity and severity.
Among his most famous paintings are his portraits of Napoleon in
the "Empire style", noted for his use of warm Venetian colours.
Other painters of the period include John Constable,
known for his beloved landscapes; Antoine-Jean Gros, appointed to capture
Napoleon's battles on canvas; and Sir Thomas Lawrence, renowned for painting
a charming portrait of the Queen, a subject rarely praised for her beauty.
Literature and Poetry
The Regency era blossomed with the
romantic literature and poetry of writers such as Lord Byron, William Blake,
William Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and of course, Jane Austen. All
of these poets and authors published most of their renowned works during this period.
Many of these writers are associated with Romanticism, an artistic and intellectual
movement that originated in late 18th century Western Europe. In part a revolt against aristocratic,
social, and political norms of the Enlightenment period and a reaction against the rationalization
of nature, in art and literature, Romanticism stressed strong emotion as a source of aesthetic experience,
placing new emphasis on such emotions as trepidation, horror, and the awe experienced in confronting
the sublimity of nature.
Romanticism in British literature developed with the poets Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
whose co-authored book Lyrical Ballads sought to reject Augustan poetry in favor of
more direct speech derived from folk traditions. Both poets were also involved in
Utopian social thought in the wake of the French Revolution. Blake is the most extreme
example of the Romantic sensibility in England, while
Byron, Shelley, and Keats constitute a later phase of Romanticism in Britain.
Although all her works are love stories, and although her career coincided with the Romantic movement
in literature, Austen was not an intensely passionate Romantic. Among
Austen's most famous works include Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma.
Her insights into the lives of women of her period, and her mastery of form and irony have made Austen
one of the most noted and influential novelists of her time.
Regency composers include Ludwig van Beethoven, Gioacchino Rossini, Franz
Peter Schubert, Franz Liszt and Felix Mendelssohn.
Beethoven is generally regarded as one of the greatest composers in the history of music,
and was the predominant figure in the transitional period between the Classical
and Romantic eras in Western classical music. Beethoven's "late period" of composition (beginning around 1816 and
ending with his death in 1827) produced works that are greatly admired for and characterized by their
intellectual depth, intense and highly personal expression, and experimentation with forms.
For example, the "Quartet in C Sharp Minor" has seven movements, while most famously his "Ninth Symphony" adds
choral forces to the orchestra in the last movement.
Additionally, during this era, the
waltz became all the rage in ballrooms across Europe.
The waltz is a ballroom and folk dance in 3/4 time, and first became fashionable in Vienna around the 1780s.
The waltz replaced the country dance, the cotillion, and the scotch reel, which had previously dominated
ballrooms through the early 1810s. Although initially condemned as indecent, the popularity of the waltz
grew around 1830 in part because of two Austrian composers, Franz Lanner and Johann Strauss. These two
composers were by far the most popular during the nineteenth century, and set the standard for
the Viennese Waltz (a very fast version of the waltz).