Aesthetic Movement

Aesthetic Movement is an intellectual and art movement supporting the emphasis of aesthetic values more than social-political themes for literature, fine art, music and other arts This meant that Art from this particular movement focused more on being beautiful rather than having a deeper meaning – ‘Art for Art’s sake’ It was particularly prominent in Europe during the 19th century, supported by notable figures such as Oscar Wilde, but contemporary critics are also associated with the movement, such as Harold Bloom, who has recently argued against projecting social and political ideology onto literary works, which he believes has been a growing problem in humanities departments over the last century

In the 19th century, it was related to other movements such as symbolism or decadence represented in France, or decadentismo represented in Italy, and may be considered the British version of the same style

Artists associated with the Aesthetic style include James McNeill Whistler, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Aubrey Beardsley Although the work of Edward Burne-Jones was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery which promoted the movement, it also contains narrative and conveys moral or sentimental messages hence it falls outside the given definition

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The primary element of Decorative Art is utility The maxim ‘Art for Art’s Sake’, identifying art or beauty as the primary element in other branches of the Aesthetic Movement, especially Fine Art, cannot apply in this context Decorative art must first have utility but may also be beautiful Decorative art is dissociated from Fine Art

Important elements of the Aesthetic Movement have been identified as Reform and Eastern Art The Government Schools of Design were founded from 1837 onwards in order to improve the design of British goods Following the Great Exhibition of 1851 efforts were intensified and Oriental objects purchased for the schools teaching collections Owen Jones, architect and Orientalist was requested to set out key principles of design and these became not only the basis of the schools teaching but also the propositions which preface The Grammar of Ornament (1856), which is still regarded as the finest systematic study or practical sourcebook of historic world ornament

As aesthetic movement decor was similar to the corresponding writing style in that it was about sensuality and nature, nature themes often appear on the furniture A typical aesthetic feature is the gilded carved flower, or the stylized peacock feather Colored paintings of birds or flowers are often seen Non-ebonized aesthetic movement furniture may have realistic-looking 3-dimensional-like renditions of birds or flowers carved into the wood

Contrasting with the ebonized-gilt furniture is use of blue and white for porcelain and china Similar themes of peacock feathers and nature would be used in blue and white tones on dinnerware and other crockery The blue and white design was also popular on square porcelain tiles It is reported that Oscar Wilde used aesthetic decorations during his youth This aspect of the movement was also satirised by Punch magazine and in Patience