Aesthetism: Brevi appunti sull'Estetismo inglese

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Data:27.04.2005
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AESTHETISM
The aesthetic movement: began in France, it reflected the sense of frustration and uncertainty of the artists. It’s a reaction against materialism and the restrictive moral code of behavior. The aim was to redefine the role of art; its motto was “Art for art sake”. The aesthetic artists lived in a very unconventional life, it means that they lived in a bohemian way as a protest against monotony and vulgarity of bourgeois life. This movement was imported into England by J. Whistler even if the routes of English aesthetic movement were be found in Keats, Rossetti and Ruskin; he was in search for beauty in art and life together with moral values. The main theorist of the aesthetic movement in England was Pater: he rejected religious faith and he considered art as a means to stop time; life should be lived as a work of art; but art has no reference to life because art has nothing to do with morality or didactic.
Oscar Wilde belonged to the group of aesthetic artists, in particular to a club, called “Rhymers’Club” that published The Yellow Book (1894-1897) a periodical magazine with a decadent taste. The features of decadent artists are five:
- excessive attention to the self;
- hedonistic and sensuous attitude;
- perversity in subject matter;
- disenchantment with contemporary society;
- evocative use of language.
DANDY
The word “dandy” was probably a Scottish nickname and we can find it in a song “Yankee Doodle Dandy” sang by the British Army during the American Revolution in 1770.
Now “dandy” is a man who boasts about his appearance. Brummel created DANDISM like a style; it was exported from England to France where it was connected to the artistic movement of aestheticism and symbolism.

EVANGELICALISM:
Theorized by S. Wesley.
It was a religious movement based on:
- strict moral behavior
- great importance of Christian values.
UTILITARISM:
Theorized by J. Bentham.
Actions guided by:
- pursuit of pleasure
- avoidance of pain
- strong sense of reason
- material happiness
- religion sees as an old superstition
EMPIRICISM:
Theorized by Mill.
Principles are:
- happiness as a state of mind and spirit
- thought must have positive function
- great importance of interaction among men
- great importance of education and art and promotion of social reforms.
THEORY OF EVOLUTION:
Theorized by Charles Darwin.
The scientific discoveries of the age caused crisis of human certainly and change in vision of nature and universe. We have a passage from a static view to a dynamic view.
It is based on:
- slow process of change and adaptation
- the best creature survives, the worst die
- man is an animal like the others.
MARXISM:
Theorized by Karl Marx.
It was born in opposition to Utilitarism; it studied the condition of the workers of industries in England.

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