How Did Nationalism Influence the Artistic Movements

Before going into the main focus of this article; that is, ‘how did nationalism influence the artistic movements,’ let us see what nationalism is.

What is Nationalism

Nationalism is an ideology or belief that gives a nation a sense of unity by imposing on them the same set of identities. The concept of nationalism originates when people identify with their country and ethnicity. Nationalism has influenced many artistic and literary movements all over the world.

How Did Nationalism Influence the Artistic Movements

Nationalism influenced different artistic movements all over the world. In this article, we’ll look at the romantic movement and post-colonialism.

Romantic Movement

Nationalism played a major role in the Romantic Movement. It became a central theme and a political philosophy of the movement. The development of national languages and folklore, and the importance of customs and traditions were some of the key nationalistic concerns in the Romantic Movement. The portrayal of heroic figures in romanticism is also influenced by the feelings of nationalism. Nationalism also inspired the collection of folklore; folklore was supposed to reflect the local culture, values, and history. Brother Grimm’s’ collection of fairy tales is also a result of this influence.

The ideas of Johann Gottfried von Herder and Rousseau were main inspirations of the early romantic nationalism. However, the French revolution and the rise of Napoleon, as well as the reactions of the other nations changed the nature of nationalism. The Russian literature most people enjoyed today was also influenced by Russian nationalism after Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.  

Furthermore, the romanticization of war, revolts, rebellions, and freedom fights can be considered as another influence of nationalism. For example, the painting below by John Martin presents a romantic vision of a single Welsh bard escaping a massacre ordered by Edward I of England, intended to destroy Welsh culture.

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Read more about Romanticism


Postcolonial literature is the literature from countries that were formerly colonized by European countries. Nationalism was a major element in most of these writings. The concept of nationalism can be also observed in literary works that were produced before their independence from the colonizers. In fact, it is this ideology of nationalism that rallied people together to fight for independence.

The National language, folklore, local traditions and customs, ancient myths and legends, religion, were some of the elements used by writers to evoke the feelings of nationalism in people.


  • Nationalism is the ideology or belief that gives a nation a sense of unity by imposing on them the same set of identities.
  • Influence of nationalism can be seen in some artistic and literary movements.
  • National languages, traditions and customs, folklore, myths, and legends are some elements used by writers to imbues the feelings of nationalism into their works.

Image Courtesy:

“The Bard” By John Martin – (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia 

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.