Aestheticism is a literary and artistic movement that was born in England in the last decades of 19th century. Its main representative is Oscar Wilde. The fundamental principle of this movement is that of art for art's sake, that consists in seeing art as representation of itself: it has an independent life and proceeds independently from the reality. The aesthetes deny any moral purpose of art, and they think that works of art should be judged only for their beauty. Indeed, they claim the superiority of art, whose supreme purpose is the cult of beauty. Therefore, according to the aesthetes, it is not art to imitate life, but life to imitate art.
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Aestheticism and Decadence