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The Period of Enlightenment

“The Enlightenment was a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and man were synthesized into a worldview that gained wide assent and that instigated revolutionary developments in art, philosophy, and politics. Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and the celebration of reason, the power by which man understands the universe and improves his own condition. The goals of rational man were considered to be knowledge, freedom, and happiness” (The Enlightenment, 2007). During the period of Enlightenment, there existed considerable dissonance between the philosophers and the people they animadverted, in particular, religious and political reactionaries who wanted the power to stay after the monarch and the church (Stevenson, 2002). Paintings can be considered origins that describe time periods, events, people; they can also show periods of economic growth or collapse. In France, the period of Enlightenment was a relatively peaceful one. Clubs, cafes, salons of philosophy were aimed to make a middle-class society that wanted to be free from monarchy (Craver, 1999).

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To my mind the brightest pieces of Art of the period of Enlightenment are the painting of Jacques-Louis David “The Death of Socrates” and Jacques-Germain Soufflot’s “Pantheon”. These works are embodiment of growth of Art during the period of Enlightenment. Jacques-Louis David’s “The Death of Socrates” is a vivid indicator of the way of depicting craving for freedom of thoughts, as the main character of thee picture is Socrates; he did not want to refuse his ideas and to accept the ideas of the people he treated with disrespect, so he decided to died of the poison prepared of hemlock. The second work is Pantheon built by Jacques-Germain Soufflot, which is an evidence to the Enlightenment delight of Ancient Greece and Rome. As architectural style is dependent on models of Classical period, Pantheon combines features of an ancient Roman temple and a plan of Greek cross (Kleiner, 2008).

One of the most vivid examples of the Romantic age is the painting of Carl Blechen “Im Berliner Tiergarten”, which means ‘in the zoological gardens of Berlin’. More than other periods in Arts the Romantic age is famous for its paintings. The works of Blechen are full of realistic details, which are perfectly arranged in whole scenes. “Blechen’s technique has been described as ‘poetic’, and the Romantic generation often expressed their feelings in poetry” (Tipton, 2003). As for the architecture, one of the brightest examples of the Romantic age can be Thomas Hardwick’s famous Millbank Penitentiary in London, as war made no obstacles for industrial and commercial architecture. One of the war consequences was that “industrialization and urbanization prompted government and charities to erect countless new prisons, workhouses, madhouses, orphanages, and hospitals”.

The most brilliant examples of the literature of the romantic age are “The Raven” written by Edgar Allan Poe, which appeared to be a success; it appealed to the audience Iin England and the United States of America, and brought the fame to the author; it has some drawbacks as it inspires parodies and imitations. I believe this work is a masterpiece of American romantic literature (Pennel, 2006). One more bright work of literature of the romantic age is “The Scarlet Letter” written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is “not so much about an adulterous affair as about a severe punishment inflected by the Boston community and the psychological consequences for the central characters” (Hawthorne, 2004).


Craver, W. Kathleen. (1999). Using Internet primary sources to teach critical thinking skills in history. Greenwood professional guides in school librarianship. Greenwood Publishing Group, 96.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, and Nancy Stade. (2004). The Scarlet Letter Barnes & Noble Classics.Spark Educational Publishing, XIII.

Kleiner, S. Fred. (2008). Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: A Global History. Cengage Learning EMEA, 770.

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Pennel, McFarland Melissa. (2006). Masterpieces of American romantic literature. Greenwood introduces literary masterpieces. Greenwood Publishing Group, 48-49.

Stevenson, Jay. (2002). The complete idiot’s guide to philosophy. Complete idiot’s guide. Alpha Books, 171.

The Enlightenment Throughout Europe. (2007). Web.

Tipton, b. Frank. (2003). A history of modern Germany since 1815. Continuum International Publishing Group, 25.

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