Polish romanticism is a period of development in Polish arts and culture in the years 1820-1864. Unlike European romanticism the trend was not limited to literary and artistic developments. Due to the peculiar historical developments, notably the partitions of Poland, it was also an idealistic, political and philosophical trend expressing the thoughts and ways of life of a large percentage of Polish population.
Romanticism in Poland can be divided in two distinct periods: 1820-1832 and 1832-1864. During the course of the first period, Polish romanticists were heavily influenced by European romanticists. Their art was characterized by emotion and irrationality, fantasy and imagination, cult of personality, folklore and country life and the propagation of the ideals of freedom. The most famous writers of this period are: Adam Mickiewicz, Seweryn Goszczyński, Tomasz Zan and Maurycy Mochnacki.
During the second period of Polish romanticism many of the artists worked abroad, many of them banished from the land by the occupying powers due to their subversive ideas. Their work became increasingly dominated by nationalist ideals as well as the struggle to regain independence. Elements of mysticism became more apparent. During that period the idea of a "poeta-wieszcz" developed. The "wieszcz" functioned as a spiritual leader of a nation fighting for independence. The most notable artist to be bestowed with that title was Adam Mickiewicz. His famous verse “Pan Tadeusz” describes his love for the land and people of his homeland.
"Litva! My country, like art thou to health,
For how to prize thee alone can tell
Who has lost thee. I behold thy beauty now
In full adornment, and I sing of it
Because I long for thee."
(from Pan Tadeusz)
Other notable writers also active abroad were: Juliusz Słowacki, Zygmunt Krasiński and Cyprian Kamil Norwid. A number of artists remained in the country and produced their works there; Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, Wincenty Pol, Władysław Syrokomla and Narcyza Żmichowska. The ideas of romanticism were not only apparent in literature but also in painting and music. A good example of Polish romantic painting is Piotr Michałowski. The music of Frederic Chopin and Stanisław Moniuszko both had great effect on the development of Polish romantic arts.