Aesthetics Wiki
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Reason: A majority of the page's information is lifted from the English Wikipedia page for Aestheticism.

Aestheticism (or the Aesthetic Movement) was an art movement in the late 19th century which valued the appearance of literature, music and the arts over their functions. According to Aestheticism, art should be produced to be beautiful, rather than to teach a lesson, create a parallel, or perform another didactic purpose, a sentiment best illustrated by the slogan "art for art's sake." Aestheticism originated in 1860s England with a radical group of artists and designers, including William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. It flourished in the 1870s and 1880s, gaining prominence and the support of notable writers such as Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde.

Aestheticism challenged the values of mainstream Victorian culture, as many Victorians believed that literature and art fulfilled important ethical roles. Writing in The Guardian, Fiona McCarthy states that "the aesthetic movement stood in stark and sometimes shocking contrast to the crass materialism of Britain in the 19th century."

Aestheticism was named by the critic Walter Hamilton in The Aesthetic Movement in England in 1882. By the 1890s, decadence, a term with origins in common with aestheticism, was in use across Europe.


  • Dreamy, ethereal landscapes
  • Soft pastel color palettes
  • Vintage or antique elements
  • Delicate flowers and foliage
  • Romantic and whimsical imagery
  • Soft lighting and blurred backgrounds
  • Ethereal and otherworldly beings
  • Fantasy and fairy tale themes
  • Fine art and classical influences
  • Minimalist and clean compositions


Aestheticism has its roots in German Romanticism. Though the term "aesthetic" derives from Greek, Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten's Aesthetica (1750) made important use of it in German before Immanuel Kant incorporated it into his philosophy in the Critique of Judgment (1790). Kant, in turn, influenced Friedrich Schiller's Aesthetic Letters (1794) and his concept of art as Spiel (Play): "Man is never so serious as when he plays; man is wholly man only when he plays". In the Letters, Schiller proclaimed salvation through art:

Man has lost his dignity, but Art has saved it, and preserved it for him in expressive marbles. Truth still lives in fiction, and from the copy the original will be restored.

These ideas were imported to the English-speaking world largely through the efforts of Thomas Carlyle, whose Life of Friedrich Schiller (1825), Critical and Miscellaneous Essays and Sartor Resartus (1833–34) introduced and advocated aestheticism while also, if not marking the earliest use of the word "aesthetic" in the English language, certainly popularising it. Ruth apRoberts declared him the "apostle of aesthetics in England, 1825-27", in recognition of his pioneering influence on the subsequent development of the aesthetic movement.


  • Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
  • Amélie (2001)
  • What Dreams May Come (1998)
  • Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
  • Annihilation (2018)