The Aesthetic Movement
The Aesthetic movement is an artistic movement that exalted beauty in every artistic form and in every aspect of life. Beauty is reached through hedonism, the art of perfection (Latin labor limae), the importance of feelings and the construction of a very exclusive sense of life.
One of its forerunner is John Keats, with his cult of beauty and the contrast art-life. Other members of this movement are:
- John Ruskin: he worshiped beauty through art, and thought that a work of art is an expression of the spirit, so the artist has to be morally upright, if he wants to create true pieces of art. Ruskin was a member of the Pre-Raphaelites, who rejected academic art (too rigid and rationalist) in favor of the spontaneity and the spirituality of Italian painters before Raphael.
- William Pater: in his opinion, the secret of happiness is the absorption of beauty and life itself is to be meant as a work of art. The only reality is that of impressions and sensations, which can be found only in art; consequently, art is supposed to be the only reality, and must produce feelings and good sensations in the spectator and not have moral implications.
In general, the interest in hedonism and exoticism typical of the Aesthetic movement was a rebellion against the conventions and the rules imposed by the Victorian morality. The most famous member of the Aesthetic movement was Oscar Wilde.