Talk:Art for art's sake

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Before Photography...?[edit]

I object to the current last statement in the article, "Before photography, but after the rise of a middle class in Europe, art was not only "decorative" but the only way that people documented what objects looked like". This statement is crude and simplistic and is the product of a pedestrian view of the history of art and of art theory. It also does nothing to elucidate the complex relationship between didactic and purely aesthetic responses to pre-photography art, a more comprehensive discussion of which the article "art for art's sake" would benefit.

if no one can persuade me otherwise, I will change the last statement to something a little more reasonable. --—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 14:43, September 26, 2006 (UTC).

Log in, sign your posts and edits, and give the article the nuanced edit it deserves! --Wetman 08:23, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
That whole paragraph reeks of anti-Europeanism. Aestheticism is not white-centric. - 21:41, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Origin of the phrase[edit]

The origin of 'art for art's sake' in 19th century thought seems to come from the philosopher Victor Cousin, or at least he's the earliest identifiable source. He published books in the 1830s-40s, themselves based on lectures from before 1820, where he talked about the role of different pursuits like philosophy and art, and stated that "philosophy must be for philosophy's sake, and art must be for art's sake". (in french "art pour l'art"). Gautier was undoubtedly influenced by Cousin, since Cousin was the most prestigious French philosopher and had completely reshaped the curriculum of universities. Of course, the phrase may have earlier origins, before the 19th century, which I don't know about, but he is most probably responsible for its importance in 19th century French thought. I'll edit the article as soon as I can find the place in his book where he makes that statement, so I can quote it.

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