Nikola Mašić, Portrait of a little girl, 1881.

Cultivating Creative Freedom

We should, at this point, once again recall the earlier mindset of the Romantics who, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries essentially opened numerous modern questions, not only in art but the general understanding of human thought. All ideological and stylistic-poetic characteristics that traditionally define Romanticism – cultivating creative freedom, questioning the nature and status of artistic creativity, the cult of genius, irrationalism, fantasy, emotionalism and the cult of “passion”, demonism, the concept of two worlds, romantic irony, interest in national (folk) forms of life and creativity, historicism, exoticism, syncretism, energeticism, magical understanding of nature – they all have something of the antinomic-uncontrollable nature of those framework categories. It seems that almost all moments of contemporary creativity have been enumerated here and that today there is nothing new that has not been the subject of Romanticism’s interest. An important moment in freeing artists from unnecessary rigid academic constraints is precisely the “cultivation of creative freedom” so Delacroix, for example, writes, if by romanticism one understands the free manifestation of my personal impressions, my aversion to models copied in schools, and my loathing for academic formula, I must confess that not only am I romantic, but I was so at the age of fifteen.

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