Aesthetic Movement

views updated May 18 2018

Aesthetic Movement. British and American artistic reaction against much of overblown Victorian design which enjoyed a vogue from the 1860s, associated with the cult of the Beautiful and Art for Art's Sake. Plain materials and surfaces were preferred to profuse and inappropriate ornament. It was influenced by the arts of Japan and China, and was closely connected with the Arts-and-Crafts movement, Art Nouveau, Japonaiserie, and the Queen Anne Revival. The architect most connected with the Movement was E. W. Godwin, but its main manifestations were in late-Victorian decorative arts and painting, often influenced by exotic orientalism, giving it a rich, strange, somewhat perfumed and decadent flavour.


Aslin (1969);
D. Burke et al. (1986);
Kornwolf (1986);
Lambourne (1996);
Lewis & Darley (1986);
Soros (2000);
Jane Turner (1996)

Aesthetic Movement

views updated May 17 2018

Aesthetic Movement a literary and artistic movement which flourished in England in the 1880s, devoted to ‘art for art's sake’ and rejecting the notion that art should have a social or moral purpose. Its chief exponents included Oscar Wilde, Max Beerbohm, Aubrey Beardsley, and others associated with the journal the Yellow Book.

The word is recorded from the late 18th century, in the sense ‘relating to perception by the senses’, and comes ultimately from Greek aisthesthai ‘perceive’. The sense ‘concerned with beauty’ was coined in German in the mid 18th century and adopted into English in the early 19th century, but its use was controversial until much later in the century.

aesthetic movement

views updated May 14 2018

aesthetic movement Late 19th-century English cult of beauty. It grew out of aestheticism, a philosophy which spread across Europe in reaction to industrialization and utilitarianism. The principal figures of the movement were Aubrey Beardsley, Walter Pater, J. M. Whistler, and Oscar Wilde.