A nineteenth-century movement in art and literature that advocated the credo of "Art for Art's Sake." Beauty became the basic principle of life, the source of all other principles, including moral ones. Art was superior to nature; death and beauty were significantly intertwined; and intensity of experience was emphasized.
the idea that the pursuit of beauty is the primary goal of art and that art need not reflect any moral, social or religious concerns. Also known as "art for art's sake".
A literary and artistic movement of the nineteenth century. Followers of the movement believed that art should not be mixed with social, political, or moral teaching. The statement "art for art's sake" is a good summary of aestheticism. The movement had its roots in France, but it gained widespread importance in England in the last half of the nineteenth century, where it helped change the Victorian practice of including moral lessons in literature. Oscar Wilde is one of the best-known "aesthetes" of the late nineteenth century. (See also Decadents.)