Realism in the arts applied more to visual arts and theatre than to any musical style. It is the depiction of subjects as they appear in everyday life, without embellishment or interpretation. In the spirit of nationalism, many composers used the melodies from common folk tunes and dances in their formal compositions. Some operas were […]

Folk and Social Dance

In the early 1800s, America was still a very young nation, largely being explored and settled by pioneers. Dance as artistic expression was not practical under these conditions. People did not have leisure time or money to spend on cultivating dance as an artistic form. Therefore, dance as a means of social interaction became extremely […]


In the mid-nineteenth century, there was a revolt against the romanticism and melodrama in play productions. Writers emerged creating plays with more natural speech and realistic situations, mirroring real life. These playwrights also raised questions about social and economic problems of the lower and middles classes that existed at the time. One big change in […]

Visual Art

Neoclassicism was still popular Challenging calm & order with drama & emotion Romanticists felt confined by Neoclassicism Rebelled against established rules of painting in their search for more artistic freedom New Importance to: Sentimentality about the past Reflecting on the wonder of nature Using the imagination gained new importance New Subjects: Exotic, faraway places Primitive […]

Drama & Theater

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) Faust (Part 1, 1808; Part 2, 1831) Faustus legend Originated in Middle Ages Tragic tale Man sells soul to devil in exchange for 24 years of knowing, doing, having anything wished Very different from earlier versions Deal struck between Faust & Mephistopheles: devil only wins if he quenches Faust’s desire […]