Whence, Comest Romantic Comedies: The History of Romantic Comedies

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“If you’re a bird, then I’m a bird” (The Notebook). This quotation by Ryan Gosling in the popular movie The Notebook offers romance and comedy combined. Where did this mix of comedy and romance originate? Romantic comedies were developed through art, poetry, and literature. It has urbanized over the years from several cultural influences such as war and the Renaissance, which happened throughout Europe beginning in the fourteenth century and lasting into the seventeenth century (Spielvogel). There were many artistic influences throughout the history of the European Renaissance that have helped create and increased the need for romantic comedies.
The European Renaissance was a period where art and literature flourished in Europe. The
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Fragonard painted portraits that embodied both humor and romance. The Stolen Kiss and Blind Man’s Bluff Game are just two examples of his paintings that show the romantic comedy distantly. The Stolen Kiss displays a young man leaving a party, but before he can leave, he steals a kiss from the beautiful maiden sitting by the door. It is obvious she did not expect the kiss by the way the end of her dress is a little tangled in the chair (Fragonard). This painting has influenced romantic comedies by illustrating that even the slightest change in character, even for a brief second, can make the audience laugh. Fragonard’s painting Blind Man’s Bluff Game reveals a young girl and boy in their early teens with two toddlers. It appears that the boy and girl were watching the toddlers, but had stopped to play blind man’s bluff. Blind man’s bluff is a game where someone is blind folded and that person has to find the other people who are playing. These people, who are playing, have to be as quiet as possible or, they can try to trick the person who is it by poking them with things (Bevington 13-25). In the picture, it must be the girls turn because she is blind folded. While the girl is blind folded, the boy has a stick and it appears he is poking her in the nose with the stick. The way Fragonard painted the young boy’s and girl’s body language suggests that they are flirting with one another (Fragonard). Many modern day movies use

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