As already noted, Stendhal was an active participant in the romantic movement and a fighter for the creation of a “new art” in France. The well-known critic Sh. De Sainte-Beuve called him “the hussar of romanticism,” bearing in mind that in the then military tactics the hussar regiments were advanced detachments of the troops, entered into battle. The artist himself, like his younger friend and like-minded P. Merimee, considered himself “a real romantic.” This really was the basis, because both writers adhered to some of the principles of romanticism in their work.
Thus, Stendhal’s conviction that the subject of modern art should be the spiritual and emotional life of a person, fits into the overall strategy of romanticism, which concentrated
Stendhal’s acquaintance with Romanticism took place during the first Italian period of his life and creativity, when he self-identified as an artist. In Italy, the writer communicates with young Italian romantics and tells his friends that “in Milan there is a fierce struggle between romantics and classics… I am a mad romantic, that is, I am for Shakespeare and against Racine, for Byron and against Boileau.” It is worth noting that Italian Romanticism was especially close to Stendhal and made a significant impact on his work.
Вернувшись во Францию в 1821 г., Стендаль активно включается в литературную борьбу.
To be a romantic, Stendhal claimed, one must be brave, in fact, one must be an innovator, discover new ways in art, be able to take risks, find new means and forms of expression – unlike a cautious classicist who does not step back from the unshakable rules and authoritative installations. The writer resolutely denied the existence of ideals and samples of art that are unchanging for all times and peoples, that is, his timeless canons, stating that “there are so many ideals of beauty, as many different forms of a nose and different characters.”