Art for Art’s Sake: A Literary Luxury or a Contemporaneous Need?
Dr. Mohamad Haj Mohamad, Dr. Nadia Hamendi

The dichotomy of art for art‘s sake and art for society‘s sake became a pressing concern in the Victorian period due to the pressure from government to use art as a means for championing its causes and aspirations, leaving artists feeling the need to redefine the identity and objectives of art. Believing in art as serving the creation only of beauty for its own sake led to the emergence and rise of art for art‘s sake, a movement that felt that art stripped of its true aesthetical values would suffer as a result. Art for art's sake is an assertion of the value of art away from any moral or didactic objectives, a process that adds a mask of luxury to literature. This paper traces the movement of art for art‘s sake, looking at its main figures from across Europe. It poses the question of whether art is supposed to moralize and teach or devote itself to the creation and championing of the cause of beauty and idealism. Believing that art had declined in an era of utility and rationalism, rebellion against Victorian middle class moral standards was unavoidable. That is why they claimed that art deserved to be judged on its own terms alone. However, the need to save art had mainly only succeeded in confining it to an ivory tower making it mainly accessible to the elite, a literary luxury fit for museums and ceremonies. That is why the influence of the movement had no real chance of surviving in the post modern and contemporary periods where art had to deal with the ever rising complexities of life and its fast and quick rhythm. Beauty is an essential factor in man's life; however, creating beauty for beauty's sake would serve museums more than real life and art.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v6n2a22