Carmen Sousa Pardo
Universidad de Granada
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Images of the soul: loneliness as a pictorial object during the Romantic period
Dedalus 24 (2020), pp. 207-218. Download PDF

Loneliness as an iconographic topic has been widely represented throughout the History of Western Art. Due to its incorporeal character, its pictorial sensitization was carried out through religious iconography or through its allegory until the 19th century.
Although these iconographies remained, their representation acquires a more personal character from the Romanticism. The subjectivity with which the subject is treated must be linked to the birth of a new sensitivity. This new affective regime, associated with the development of liberal theory, above all prioritizes the individual expression: the self.
This individualism will also lead to a new conception of art for which loneliness will play an important role. Creation will be understood as the highest expression of the self, and as a result of the individual work of the solitary genius.
In view of the above, the aim of this article is to analyse what the iconographic patterns under which loneliness is represented in romantic painting are, and why this feeling becomes one of the most frequent topics of artistic modernity.
Keywords: loneliness, iconography, Romanticism, aesthetics, affect theory, 19th century