Romanticism is the name of a 19th-century vision of life that found expression in literature, music and the visual arts. Intense emotions and the individual are central in this outlook. The Romantic is discontent with society and flees from the here and now to other cultures, into the past, fairly tales or nature. The movement originated as a reaction against the cold detachment of Classicism.
Artists painted new subjects with an emotional load, such as the illustrious past or the grandeur of nature in which man’s insignificance is underscored. They favoured dramatic moments, such as a threatening thunderstorm, but idyllic landscapes with a picturesque or religious atmosphere were also popular.
Romantic scenes were severely criticized in the Netherlands for being overly affected. Hence, there were few Dutch Romantic painters. Willem Roelofs and Barend Koekkoek made Romantic works for a while, but the purest representative of Dutch Romanticism was Wijnand Nuyen.