Aesthetic Art Movement

England, 1860 - 1910

Aesthetic Art Movement, Aestheticism, Paintings, and Artists.

Aestheticism or Aesthetic Art asserts that art has its inherent value and is not required to have a moral or historical significance. Rather, the emphasis was on exploring color, form, and composition to achieve magnificence, which was depicted by repressing colors, geometric designs, and simplified linear forms.

What is the Aestheticism or Aesthetic Art Movement?

Its course was especially unmistakable in Europe during the nineteenth century and related to other movements such as Symbolism. The movement took as its primary sources of inspiration from Pre-Raphaelite paintings of flaming red-haired beauties, medieval geometric designs, and Japanese themes and aesthetics. Edward Burne-Jones identified the need for a distinct and modern style that would meet the necessities of the modern world instead of the persistent reusing of historic styles. He also saw no reason to dismiss the lessons of the past.

In 1854, Japan started exchanging goods with foreign nations. After being a closed market for so long, their items overwhelmed the British market. Artists and shoppers alike were enraptured by the stylized organic motifs, circular designs, and geometric patterns that characterized these new unknown designs and art. Painters, such as James Abbott McNeill Whistler, started putting these novel things into their oil paintings.

Art for Art's Sake.

Throughout the following two decades, aestheticism expanded, attracting architects, craft workers, poets, and philosophers to create a movement dedicated to pure beauty. Benjamin Constant initially used the expression l'art pour l'art ("art for art," or "art for art's sake") in 1804. This became the standard motto for this movement.

This was a painter's movement. Aestheticism was opposed to the popular, nostalgic, and moral art styles of Victorian art history. It had its own dedicated exhibition, the Grosvenor Gallery, which opened in 1877 in London with acclaimed artists George Frederic Watts, JM Whistler, Albert Moore, and Edward Burne-Jones.

The Grosvenor Gallery was the first to have electric lights, and it also presented another strategy for picture display (now the standard method for galleries and museums) where paintings were hung with ample spacing. Before, in galleries and museums, pictures were stacked on top of each other, spaced on the sides, top, and bottom of artworks with only inches to separate them.

It was after the first exhibition at the Grosvenor that art critic John Ruskin launched his famous and notorious attack on Whistler, accusing him of asking for 200 guineas "for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face" in Ruskin's scathing review of Whistler's Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket.

The cult of beauty expanded way beyond the gallery. One of the primary fundamentals of aestheticism was that art was not restricted to painting and sculpture and the false values of the market.

During the mid-nineteenth century, the provocative and sensuous Aesthetic art movement threatened to destroy Britain's fastidious, tyrannical, and conservative Victorian customs and artistic movement. At its heart was the longing to make "art for art's sake" and to magnify taste, the quest for excellence, and self-expression over moral expectations and restrictive conformity. This was the reason for the dismissal of previous historical or mythological narratives, and it was significant for modern painters. In contrast to academicism, the artist should be able to express himself about the subject matter through stylistic representation. This idea of self-expression joined with an enthusiasm to investigate the formal parts of the painting with color, form, and composition, culminating in the Abstract Expressionist movement of the mid-twentieth century and has remained a premise of innovative art for many contemporary artists now.

The Aestheticism Movement Set the Stage for Art Today.

Painters were best prepared to understand the movement's goal. This is because compositions can be isolated from utilitarian functions. In this way, painters like Moore, Whistler, and Leighton could concentrate on making excellent arrangements that were satisfying to the senses.

The opportunity for innovative expression and erotic nature that Aestheticism advanced invigorated its followers, but it also made them targets of ridicule among preservationist Victorians. In any case, by dismissing the educational commitments of the past and concentrating on self-expression and the future, the Aesthetic Movement helped set the course for the worldwide, twentieth-century modern art movements to come.

Artists associated with the Aesthetic style include Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Aubrey Beardsley.


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Aesthetic Art Movement Painters Biography & Painting Reproductions

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