British movement of the 1930s to early 1950s in painting, illustration, literature, film and theatre Neo-Romantic artists focused on a personal, poetic vision of the landscape and on the vulnerable human body, in part as an insular response to the threat of invasion during World War II Essentially Arcadian and with an emphasis on the individual, the Neo-Romantic vision fused the modernist idioms of Pablo Picasso, André Masson and Pavel Tchelitchew with Arthurian legend, the poetry of William Wordsworth (1770–1850) and the prints of William Blake and Samuel Palmer Celebrated as modern yet essentially traditional, its linear, lyrical and poetic characteristics were thought to epitomize the northern spirit Neo-Romanticism flourished in response to the wartime strictures, threat of aerial bombardment and post-war austerity of the 1940s, in an attempt to demonstrate the survival and freedom of expression of the nation’s spiritual life

The term neo-romanticism is used to cover a variety of movements in philosophy, literature, music, painting, and architecture, as well as social movements, that exist after and incorporate elements from the era of Romanticism It has been used with reference to late-19th-century composers such as Richard Wagner particularly by Carl Dahlhaus who describes his music as “a late flowering of romanticism in a positivist age” He regards it as synonymous with “the age of Wagner”, from about 1850 until 1890—the start of the era of modernism, whose leading early representatives were Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler (Dahlhaus 1979, 98–99, 102, 105) It has been applied to writers, painters, and composers who rejected, abandoned, or opposed realism, naturalism, or avant-garde modernism at various points in time from about 1840 down to the present

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Neo-romanticism as well as Romanticism is considered in opposition to naturalism—indeed, so far as music is concerned, naturalism is regarded as alien and even hostile (Dahlhaus 1979, 100) In the period following German unification in 1871, naturalism rejected Romantic literature as a misleading, idealistic distortion of reality Naturalism in turn came to be regarded as incapable of filling the “void” of modern existence Critics such as Hermann Bahr, Heinrich Mann, and Eugen Diederichs came to oppose naturalism and materialism under the banner of “neo-romanticism”, demanding a cultural reorientation responding to “the soul’s longing for a meaning and content in life” that might replace the fragmentations of modern knowledge with a holistic world view

“Neo-romanticism” was proposed as an alternative label for the group of German composers identified with the short-lived Neue Einfachheit movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s Along with other phrases such as “new tonality”, this term has been criticised for lack of precision because of the diversity among these composers, whose leading member is Wolfgang Rihm

In British art history, the term “neo-romanticism” is applied to a loosely affiliated school of landscape painting that emerged around 1930 and continued until the early 1950s It was first labeled in March 1942 by the critic Raymond Mortimer in the New Statesman These painters looked back to 19th-century artists such as William Blake and Samuel Palmer, but were also influenced by French cubist and post-cubist artists such as Pablo Picasso, André Masson, and Pavel Tchelitchew (Clark and Clarke 2001; Hopkins 2001) This movement was motivated in part as a response to the threat of invasion during World War II Artists particularly associated with the initiation of this movement included Paul Nash, John Piper, Henry Moore, Ivon Hitchens, and especially Graham Sutherland A younger generation included John Minton, Michael Ayrton, John Craxton, Keith Vaughan, Robert Colquhoun, and Robert MacBryde