From Walzel, German Romanticism (1932):
Romantic music -- again one takes one's lead from Beethoven -- concerns itself with the heroic, the larger-than-life, the uncontrolled, the unrestricted -- even the potentially destructive. These values are then presented to the world as self-justifying entities, expressions of uncompromising personal vision. Once the composer's "message" has been made public, it is for the world at large to rise to it: the artist is not the servant of society but its leader.
-trans. A.E. Lussky.
(Illustration is Thomas Cole's The Destruction of Empire, 1836.)