The subject matter itself

The subject matter itself - the classical literature and...

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The subject matter itself, apart from being a classical historical topic (neoclassical qualities), is the wrath of nature – volcano eruption. This subject gives the painting a romantic quality, because during the romantic period people were impressed by the power of nature and their lack of understanding or control over it. We see how nature’s blow destroys the fragile human constructions, and humans themselves. We see powerful drama, a kaleidoscope of human emotions: people's strengths and weaknesses. We see people running scared; the whole set and the mood of the painting reminds me of the Greek tragedies, which are supposed to evoke pity and fear in the viewer. This connection with
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Unformatted text preview: the classical literature and ideas of romanticism put the painting on the verge between neoclassicism and romanticism. I must say that I saw the original painting several times in the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. This is my favorite painting of all times. The painting is huge and occupies a whole wall in the museum. I agree with Walter Scott, who “gave it the seal of his approbation when, having contemplated it in silence for over an hour, he proclaimed it an epic” (Rice 54). I never spent less than an hour in front of it myself. The small reproductions that we can find in books or on the web will not impress a person who never saw the original painting....
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