The 19th Century Aesthetic Movement Essay example

The 19th Century Aesthetic Movement Essay example

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The 19th Century Aesthetic Movement

The Arts and Crafts Movement is the main line of reform design in the 19th century that defines the period of its greatest development, roughly between 1875-1920. The Aesthetic Movement and Art Nouveau, whose roots were in the reaction to the Industrial Revolution in England in the middle of the 19th century, are the two major stylistic developments of this Movement’s philosophy (A Thing of Beauty 9).

The term "Aesthetic Movement" refers to the introduction of principles that emphasized art in the production of furniture, metalwork, ceramics, stained glass, textiles, wallpapers, and books. The catalyst for its widespread popularity was the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876. There, in numerous displays, many Americans, artists and craftsmen as well as the general public, were exposed to art objects from a great variety of nations and periods (Bolger Burke et al. 19). Most writers on the Aesthetic Movement agree that its roots lie in the reaction to Industrialization in mid-19th century England The movement incorporated both exotic and historical sources of design generally, the Japanese influence became the strongest and best known. However, not all Aesthetic Movement design is in a Japanese style and vice versa. Today relatively little remains of the highest expressions of Aesthetic Movement design. Never inexpensive and therefore never plentiful, few objects and very few intact interiors, particularly the domestic interior, survive to suggest their richness and beauty (A Thing of Beauty 11-12).

The Aesthetic movement in Britain began as a reform impulse. It was a part of a larger critique of the Industrial Revolution, which had radically altered Britain following the Napoleon...


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... oriented away from ritual and visual symbols and more towards social and community ideals, it reinforced the social nature of the movement (A Thing of Beauty 9). Thus, although the Movement definitely had its stylistic expressions, it was not simply an art movement but had a rather complex structure of social, political and moral ideas of the British life in during that period.

Works Cited

A Thing of Beauty (Catalog of an exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta,
Georgia, February 1-April 6, 1980). Atlanta: The High Museum of Art. 1980.
Bolger Burke, et al. In Pursuit of Beauty. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.
1986.
Kaplan, Wendy. The Art That Is Life: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America, 1875-
1920. New York: Little, Brown and Company. 1987.
Klein, Dan. Aspects of the Aesthetic Movement. London: Gordon House/Hillingdon
Press. 1978.

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