The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde 1860-1900

Overview

The Cult of Beauty focuses on a period at the end of the nineteenth century when a group of artists, architects, and designers found themselves linked by the search for anew Beauty. The Aesthetic Movement, as it came to be known, united romantic bohemians, such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, and Edward Burne-Jones, with maverick figures like James McNeill Whistler. The Cult of Beauty brings together the finest pictures, furniture, and decorative arts of this extraordinary era, setting them in the ...

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2012 Hardcover New 9781851776948. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened--296 pp.; 249 illus. (211 in color. )

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Overview

The Cult of Beauty focuses on a period at the end of the nineteenth century when a group of artists, architects, and designers found themselves linked by the search for anew Beauty. The Aesthetic Movement, as it came to be known, united romantic bohemians, such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, and Edward Burne-Jones, with maverick figures like James McNeill Whistler. The Cult of Beauty brings together the finest pictures, furniture, and decorative arts of this extraordinary era, setting them in the context of this glittering cast of characters. This beautiful book also reveals how artists’ houses and their extravagant lifestyles became the object of public fascination. The influence of the “Palaces of Art” created by Rossetti and Morris, Lord Leighton, and others led to a widespread revolution in architecture and interior decoration, while Oscar Wilde made his name promoting the idea of “The House Beautiful.”

Praise for The Cult of Beauty:

“[This] companion volume will surely prove a classic in the field . . . The book offers a finely written in-depth discussion for newcomers to this complex field, while those with a longstanding interest will find a fresh curatorial point of view that places these related works in a new historical context.” The Magazine Antiques

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Edited by Orr (curator, European art, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; coauthor, Masters of Venice: Renaissance Painters of Passion and Power) and Callow (curator, prints, Victoria & Albert Museum; coauthor, The Elements of Style: An Encyclopedia of Domestic Architectural Detail), this catalog, which accompanies the international exhibition of the same name, is a comprehensive overview of Victorian England's Aesthetic movement. While the country at large focused on industry and material culture, the artists involved in this movement heralded beauty as the guiding principle of everything artistic and good. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, James McNeill Whistler, and others were motivated by the credo of "art for art's sake" in their search for beauty. Chapters cover Aesthetic painting, photography, and architecture as well as furniture, wallpaper, textiles, metalwork, jewelry, ceramics, and clothing. Examining the cultural milieu of the Aesthetic movement, the book also discusses collectors and art theorists such as Walter Pater and John Ruskin. VERDICT With beautiful illustrations and expert text, this is an excellent showcase of and a thorough introduction to the Aesthetic movement for general readers.—Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Univ., MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781851776948
  • Publisher: V & A Publications
  • Publication date: 3/1/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Federle Orr is curator in charge of European art at the Legion of Honor, showcasing the European collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. She choreographs the Legion’s permanent collection galleries, as well as exhibitions. Stephen Calloway is curator of prints at the V&A. He curated Aubrey Beardsley and edited the accompanying book and his many publications include Twentieth-Century Decoration and Baroque, Baroque: The Culture of Excess.

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