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A romantic revival

By Sebastian Smee   April 2004

Is romanticism the natural condition of art? Wassily Kandinsky thought so. “It is no part of my programme,” he wrote, “to paint with tears, and I really don’t care for sweets, but romanticism goes far, far beyond tears. The meaning, the content of art is romanticism, and it is our fault if we mistake a temporal phenomenon for the whole notion.”

Go to Tate Modern, and romanticism is the elephant in the room that everybody knows is there but no one wants to acknowledge. For almost half a year, its cavernous turbine hall was transformed into a setting sun seen…

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