Aesthetic Movement

The Aesthetic Movement (1860 - 1900), and was the precursor to Art Nouveau. It was a reaction against the state of Design in the 19th century 1. The movement worked for a return to beauty in design, and their catch cry was "art for art sake".

Aestheticism had much in common with Art Nouveau in that it drew from nature and emphasised flowing lines and beauty, but it was less abstract and the images were more realistic. The subject matter was often drawn from classical myths and legends, such as ancient Greece or King Arthur.


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Laus Veneris by Edward Burne-Jones, 1873-78 (Photograph: Laing Art Gallery) Veronica Veronese by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1872 (Photograph: V&A Images)
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Pavonia by Frederic Leighton, 1858-59 (Photograph: Private Collection c/o Christies) The Golden Stairs by Edward Burne-Jones, 1880 (Photograph: Tate, London)
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