During the Victorian Era, the Arts and Crafts Movement came about that challenged the tastes of the time (Arts). This movement was said to have been inspired by philosophic thinkers such as Walter Crane and John Ruskin (Jirousek). It is also said that this movement was inspired by the ideals of the designer and reformer William Morris, who was said to be a pivotal figure in the history of design as a whole (Meggs). Although this information seems all fine and dandy, I would like to reflect upon the concept of where these art movements come from...
The Arts and Crafts Movement was said to be the “new appreciation of the decorative arts throughout Europe” as well as a rebellion against the Victorian sensibilities (Arts).
It was said to be a reaction to the poor aesthetic quality of the new machine made wares. This movement is not the only art movement that is said to have come about due to an outside force. Art Nouveau was a direct byproduct of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Dadaism was a reaction to the horrors of World War I, so the “non-artists” chose to combat these troubles with lunacy (Esaak). Impressionism was a reaction and rebellion against the rules of academic painting (Samu). Cubism was a reaction against the traditional ways of representing light and color (Cubism)... I could go on all day.
The aspect of this topic that I would like to reflect on is that of how each new wave of art seems to be defined as a reaction to something, but is it possible to define an art movement as it’s own entity? Is it possible to not compare and contrast when searching for a definition and for a new art movement to come about solely from itself, and not as a reaction to something? Is everything in life simply a reaction to something else?
I think that with every choice and event that takes place throughout life, it is completely feasible that since birth, everything that one does is a reaction to what had just happened. This concept can be applied to art movements due to their lifelike quality. They have a birth, they have a hay day and they have an end... but once they end people do not stop talking about and practicing what they preached. But I do believe that everything in these art movements, as well as life are direct reactions to everything, and that an art movement cannot exist within itself, but only exist through the contrast of what is going on around it.
The Arts and Crafts Movement, that we learned about this week in class is a reaction to the lame aesthetic of the new factory made goods. I do not believe that it would be as powerful of a movement if it was not said to be a reaction to something, I think that if it stood alone, without contrast, it would not be as strong as a movement.
Now I am not going to pretend that I have the correct answers to these questions, or even that there are right answers to them, but I would like to open them up to discussion during the comment session of this assignment. Let me know what you think!
Megg, Philip B. Megg's History of Graphic Design. 5th ed. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012. Print.
Jirousek, Charlotte. "Art Design and Visual Thinking." 1995. Web. 2 Feb 2014. http://char.txa.cornell.edu/art/decart/artcraft/artcraft.htm
"Arts and Crafts Movement." Web. 2 Feb 2014. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/37281/Arts-and-Crafts-Movement
Samu, Margaret. "Impressionism: Art and Modernity." October 2004. Web. 2 Feb 2014. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/imml/hd_imml.htm
Esaak, Shelley. "What is Dada?" Web. 2 Feb 2014. http://arthistory.about.com/cs/arthistory10one/a/dada.htm
"Cubism: A New Vision." Web. 2 Feb 2014. http://www.mdc.edu/Wolfson/Academic/ArtsLetters/art_philosophy/Humanities/Cubism/cubism%20front2.htm