Vincent Van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889, Saint-Remy, France.


Claude Monet, Le Bateau-atelier, 1876.

Impressionism “depicted a fleeting moment, an impression,” Impressionism was characterized by sketchy lines, loose brush strokes and dabs of color that blend together. The favorite subject matter was: the transitory effects of light and weather; the amusements and pastimes of the middle and upper classes; pleasant moments; and did not focus on traditional subject matter such as history and classical antiquities and religion. Frequently the painters worked outdoors (“Art Music…,” n.d.).

Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night is a perfect example of Post-Impressionism. The bright stars and moon, the way the wind is moving, it’s all so free and peaceful. The city below, perhaps, demonstrates serenity. Also, the thing that interests me the most is the brush on the left side. This sky keeps the viewer’s eyes moving about the painting, following the curves and creating a visual dot to dot with the stars. This movement keeps the onlooker involved in the painting while the other factors take hold (“Vincent Van Gogh: Starry Night,” n.d.). Van Gogh’s paintings were supposed to present emotion: dramatic, lyrically rhythmic, imaginative, and emotional (Vincent Van Gogh: Biography,” n.d.).


Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, 1872.


Thomas Cole, The Oxbow, 1836.

Romanticism is different from Impressionism. Like the Baroque era, artists wanted to elicit emotions and feelings. The favorite subject matter was mists, fantastic, exotic, world of dreams, and fabulous landscapes. Horrible tragedies and injustices were also ideal Romantic subject matter. Romantic painting was noted as a floating, inexact style, or attitude. The artist was seen as creator that reflected God’s power in their genius (“Art Music…,” n.d.).

Thomas Cole and Thomas Moran were in the Hudson River School during the Romantic Era. The Hudson River School mainly focused on landscape paintings. Many of these paintings were realistically descriptive and features tranquil and beautiful pastoral settings where nature and man existed peacefully. They held a reverence for nature as a manifestation of God. The techniques that the painters used for creating the illusion of light was known as luminism (“Art Music…,” n.d.).

Comparing these paintings from the Impression and Romantic eras, we can definitely see the differences. The technique is very different. In van Gogh’s painting its so freehanded and sketchy, while in Moran and Cole’s paintings, the strokes are so carefully detailed.  In Moran and Cole’s paintings, we can see how clear and vivid everything is.

Although Romantic paintings were more clear and detailed, I would have to stay I like the Impressionistic style more. It’s so abstract and all the colors are put together to create a masterpiece. I would prefer a more creative, imaginative painting than a detailed picture of a landscape.

Works Cited

“Art Music Theater F200.” 5.4- Visual Arts in the Romantic Era. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 June 2012.

“Oil Painting Reproduction Studio.” Oil Painting Reproduction Studio. N.p., 2004. Web. 21 June 2012.

“Vincent Van Gogh: Biography.” Vincent Van Gogh Gallery. N.p., 2012. Web. 21 June 2012.

 “Vincent Van Gogh: Starry Night.” Vincent Van Gogh Gallery. N.p., 2012. Web. 21 June 2012.