The Cult of Beauty The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900

The Victorians gave us some remarkable art and design among the many facets left to us is the Aesthetic Movement.

The term Aesthetic Movement refers to the introduction of principles that emphasized art in the production of furniture, metalwork, ceramics, stained glass, textiles, wallpapers, books and is very much part and parcel of the late Victorian period.

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 so much during the Victorian era.

So the V & A which is a beautiful museum and has superb tea rooms as a touring exhibition available, here is what they have to say:

This is the first international exhibition to explore the unconventional creativity of the Aesthetic movement in Britain. As the well spring of the ‘new art’ movements of the late 19th century, Aestheticism is now acknowledged for its revolutionary re-negotiation of the relationships between the artist and society and between the ‘fine’ and design arts.

Superb paintings by artists such as Whistler, Rossetti and Leighton will feature alongside fashionable trends in architecture, interior design, domestic furnishings, art photography and new modes of dress, tracing Aestheticism’s evolution from the artistic concerns of a small avant-garde to a broad cultural phenomenon.

The exhibition is organised with the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco in collaboration with the Musée d’Orsay, Paris. It will open with the title ‘Beauté, morale et volupté dans l’Angleterre d’Oscar Wilde’ at the Musée D’Orsay on 13th September 2011, closing on the 15th January 2012. The exhibition transfers to the Fine Arts Museum San Francisco and opens at the Legion of Honor on 18th February, closing on 17th June 2012.


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