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Art for Art's Sake

Art for Art's Sake Collage

"Art for art's sake means for ... the pursuit of beauty - without any other preoccupation."

Summary of Art for Art's Sake

The phrase 'art for art's sake' (from the French l'art pour l'art) condenses the notion that art has its own value and should be judged apart from any themes which it might touch on, such as morality, religion, history, or politics. It teaches that judgements of aesthetic value should not be confused with those proper to other spheres of life. The idea has ancient roots, but the phrase first emerged as a rallying cry in 19th-century France, and subsequently became central to the British Aesthetic movement. Although the phrase has been little used since, its legacy has been at the heart of 20th century ideas about the autonomy of art, and thus crucial to such different bodies of thought as those of formalism, modernism, and the avant-garde. Today, deployed more loosely and casually, it is sometimes put to very different ends, to defend the right of free expression, or to appeal for art to uphold tradition and avoid causing offense.

Art for Art's Sake Image

While some demanded that art only focus on aethetics (and be devoid of morality and the like), others, such as the famous writer George Sand said: "Talent imposes duties. Art for the truth, art for the good, art for the beautiful - that is the religion I seek."

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