Many writers of he early 1800's belonged to the artistic movement known as the Romanticism, or the Romantic Movement. The work of such artist show their themes as they thought it should be rather than as it actually was. The Romantic Movement was partly a reaction to the enlightenment. Romantics glorified emotion and instinct. Many romance writers glorified the past, especially the Middle Ages for it's castles, ladies, and chivalries knights. For example, in Ivan Hoe, the Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott wrote about the days of knighthood. The Grimm Brothers collected the famous fairy tales that bear their name. Beethoven brought to music some of the same aims that the British poets of his time brought to literature. He expressed his love of nature in the "Pastoral Symphony". Giuseppe Verdi, a composer, composed of some his best works, such as Othello and Aida. In the 1820's and 1830's romantic painter, like romantic writer chose subjects from the past and depicted scenes bursting with action and drama. One of which was Eugene Delacroix of France. Landscape painters John Constable and J.MW. Turner of Great Britain reflected the romantic interest in nature. .
Art and literature that represents events and social conditions as they actually are without idealization involved is called realism. One of the most important realists was Gustav Flaubert of France. His novel Madame Bovary described with extraordinary attention to detail the life of an ordinary woman. In Great Britain, Mary Anne Evans wrote realistic novels under the name George Elliot. In Middlemarch, considered her masterpiece, describes various classes in Victorian society. Often the realist made social and economic conditions their theme. The Russian, Leo Tolstoy in his monumental novel War and Peace showed war not as a romantic adventure but as a vast confusion of misery and death.
The subject mater of much romantic literature and art had little to do with the lives of ordinary people.