Aestheticism refers to a movement that occurred following the Victorian era, whcih focused on aesthetic appeal as opposed to desire to push a subvertive socio-political agenda. Futher, this artistic interpretation worked to prioritize beauty and visual gratification over ‘profound meaning’. The energy surrounding this era had sparked the notorious saying “art for art’s sake”, which encaptures the simplicity and immediacy presented in aestheticism.
The Victorian era sought to use literature and visuals to convey righteous and morally correct behavour to its audience – working under the conditions of Vicotrian puratanism. The movement worked to dismantle the belief that art needed to hold ethical value in order to be considered important and worth while. In such cases, the movement was occasionally seen as a rejection of the traditional, Victorian lifestyle.
Aestheticism prolifically changed Victorian culture and touched almost every art form – writing, painting, poetry, etc. The movement later pervaded mainstream culture and had subsequently changed cultural attitudes towards artistic interpretation. Though the term can not be attributed to one particular individual, it was often associated with the Pre-Raphaelites in the later 19th century.
Oscar Wild is an example of a prominate author during the Aesthetic movement, he identified with rebellious and provocative attitudes and worked to curate art that embodied the “art for art’s sake” elements.
Burdett, Carolyn. “Aestheticism and Decadence.” The British Library, 17 Feb. 2014, www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/aestheticism-and-decadence.