Art for art's sake

DEFINITION

An expression coined in the early 19th Century, it came to mean experimental or modernist art that was created without traditional social or religious themes. Source: Robert Atkins, "Art Speak"<br><br>When you proclaim the independence of aesthetic values intrinsic in a work of art from storytelling, moral values or any other purposes or motives. From the French: "l&#39;art pour l&#39;art."<br><br>Any of several points of view related to the possibility of art being independent of concerns that order other disciplines. The term is primarily used regarding artists and artwriters of the second half of the nineteenth century, especially Charles Baudelaire (French, 1821-1867), James A. McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903) and Oscar Wilde (English, 1854-1900), and Edgar Allan Poe (American, 1809-1849). Here&#39;s a link to images of Whistler&#39;s The Peacock Room, 1876-77, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. The Peacock Room was once the dining room in the London home of Frederick R. Leyland, a wealthy ship owner from Liverpool, England. Leyland commissioned Whistler to paint the dining room. Between 1876 and 1877, Whistler brightened the room with golden peacocks, painting every inch of the ceiling and walls to create an elegant setting in which Leyland could display his blue-and-white porcelain as well as Whistler&#39;s painting The Princess from the Land of Porcelain.Examples of art for art&#39;s sake below, begin with a preparatory study made for this painting:Quote: "Art for art&#39;s sake? I should think so, and more so than ever at the present time. It is the one orderly product which our middling race has produced. It is the cry of a thousand sentinels, the echo from a thousand labyrinths, it is the lighthouse which cannot be hidden . . . it is the best evidence we can have of our dignity." E. M. Forster (1879-1970), British author. Address to PEN Club Congress. Quoted by Huw Weldon, Monitor, 1962. "Art for art&#39;s sake is a philosophy of the well-fed." Cao Yu (1910-), Chinese dramatist. Observer, London, April, 1980. "Fine art that exists for itself alone is art in a final state of impotence. If nobody, including the artist, acknowledges art as a means of knowing the world, then art is relegated to a kind of rumpus room of the mind and the irresponsibility of art to actual living becomes part and parcel of the practice of art." Angela Carter (1940-1992), British author. The Sadeian Woman, "Polemical Preface," 1972. Related resource: ArtMagic is a "non-profit virtual art gallery" displaying fin de si?cle art and also offers an MP3 archive filled with the wistful music of this era. Also see aestheticism, Art Nouveau, and fin de si?cle.

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