Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863), who later became the leader of French Romanticism, followed in Gericault's footsteps after the latter's early demise, painting pictures whose vivid colours and impetuous brushwork were designed to stimulate the emotions and stir the soul. In doing this he deliberately rekindled the centuries-old argument about the primacy of drawing or colour composition. Delacroix countered what he considered to be 'Neoclasssical dullness' - exemplified, as far as he was concerned, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) and the conservative French Academy - with dynamic motion, and a colour-based composition not unlike that of Titian or Rubens. His masterpiece in the Romantic style is Liberty Leading the People (1830, Louvre), painted on the occasion of the 1830 Revolution.
Some aspects of Romanticism are already present in eighteenth-century music. The heightened contrasts and emotions of Sturm und Drang seem a precursor of the Gothic in literature, or the sanguinary elements of some of the operas of the period of the French Revolution . The libretti of Lorenzo da Ponte for Mozart , and the eloquent music the latter wrote for them, convey a new sense of individuality and freedom. In Beethoven, perhaps the first incarnation since the Renaissance of the artist as hero, the concept of the Romantic musician begins to reveal itself—the man who, after all, morally challenged the Emperor Napoleon himself by striking him out from the dedication of the Symphony no. 3, the Eroica Symphony. In Beethoven's Fidelio he creates the apotheosis of the “rescue operas” which were another feature of French musical culture during the revolutionary period, in order to hymn the freedom which underlay the thinking of all radical artists in the years of hope after the Congress of Vienna.
Romanticism can be construed as an opposite to "classicism," drawing on Rousseau's notion of the goodness of the natural. Romanticism holds that pure logic is insufficient to answer all questions. Despite a founding French influence, Romanticism was most widespread in Germany and England, largely as a reaction to the French Enlightenment. It also was a response to French cultural domination, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars . The Romanticist emphasis on individualism and self-expression deeply impacted American thinking, especially the transcendentalism of Emerson.