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The aesthetic movement, Aesthetism and Impressionism

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The aesthetic movement

The word aesthet takes origins from a Greek word and means "something percettible by the senses". Aesthet is a person who "perceives with his senses".

The term was used for a person who devotes hisself to Beauty in art, music, litterature.

It's referred to the movement of the 19th  century

It can find origin in the works by Kant, Goethe, Schelling. They were brought to England by Colerdige, Carlyle, in USA by E. A. Poe, in France by M.me de Stael and T. Jouffray.

The A:M was connected with the Parnassians (French reaction of the 19th  to the subjectivism of the Romanticism).

The most important member of the Parnassians was T. Gautier. His work "M.lle de Maupin" (18353) is considered a good example of aestheticism.

The artist has to be objective and disappear from his work.

In his work "Emaux et camès" he established that art has no moral, no social function, no importance for life (there is separation between art and morality): "Art for art's sake"

There is an increasing desire to transgress: this attitude was dictated by a disattachment with the world and fascination with evil, perversity, eroticism.

All that is exemplified in "Poems and Ballads" (1866) by Swinbourne.

It came as a choc to the Victorian society. Pater, in his "Studies in the history of the renaissance"

(1873) stated that life should be treated in the spirit of art. Life had to be art or a work of art. The form of the work of art was more important than the content, "how is more important than  what" and art is an alternative to life. Death is seen in a positive way.

Beauty is art's real essence, often connected with decay and death. The artist is an excluded man (he withdraws from life)

From "A rebours", Whitman 1884, "to be as artificial as possible".

Aesthetism and Impressionism

Renoir, Manet, Monet, Degas and Pizarro.

They reacted to reality through impressions.

Aestheticism is also connected to the Rhymer's Club,  whose motto was "the pleasure of astonishing and never be astonished". The members published the Yellow Book (1884/7), whose illustrations in black and white reflected decadentism, morbidity and perversity.

"the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfective medium"

"no artist is morbid, the artist can express everything"

The instruments of the artist are thought and language, the materials for art are vice and virtue.

Music is the formal model of art; the actor is the formal model of the transmission of feelings.

"all art is surface and symbol".

"when the chritics disagreee, the artist is in accord with hisself"

"art is quite useless"

Situation in Italy

The most representative authors were D'Annunzio, "Il piacere", 1889 (the dandy in A. Sperelli), Pascoli, Gozzano.


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