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April 27, 2013

Romantic times at Fenimore

Museum exhibits draw on 19th century movement

When one thinks of the romantic, usually one ponders wistfully the early days of a courtship and marriage. 

Then there is the Romantic, a period in European and American art, literature and music that flourished gloriously in the 19th century. This is the Romantic that is being featured at Cooperstown’s Fenimore Art Museum as well as Hyde Hall and the Glimmerglass Festival during the multidisciplinary “Festival of the American Romantics,” with a variety of exhibits and programming.

Press materials from the Fenimore describe the Romantic movement as an artistic celebration of the individual and subjectivity (that is, one’s personal, and often emotional, view of the world) and artistic inspiration arising from the individual’s unique feelings, often about the natural environment. Romanticism, as it is often called, began in Europe and influenced the work of composers such as Wagner, writers such as Keats, and painters such as J.M.W. Turner. 

When the Romantic movement came to the United States, it influenced some of American’s most well-known figures in the arts. The painters Frederic Church and Thomas Cole, and writers such as New England’s Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau, as well as local legend James Fenimore Cooper, are considered leaders of the Romantic period. 

As the Fenimore’s website says, the Festival of the American Romantics enables visitors to the participating institutions to experience Romantic visual, literary and musical works of art in the kind of setting — in some cases, the same location — in which these works were created. 

Hyde Hall, the Glimmerglass Festival and Frederic Church historic home on the Hudson River, will participate in the Festival of American Romantics, Kenyon said. 

“We’re promoting each other’s programming for the summer,” Kenyon said. 

Hyde Hall will offer readings from American Romantic literature in July, and the Glimmerglass will present Wagner’s opera, “The Flying Dutchman, which, according to museum literature, uses the American wilderness as its setting, in July and August.

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