art for art's sake

Cultural Dictionary

art for art's sake definition


A slogan meaning that the beauty of the fine arts is reason enough for pursuing them — that art does not have to serve purposes taken from politics, religion, economics, and so on. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Edgar Allan Poe, and Oscar Wilde argued for the doctrine of art for art's sake.

Note: Ars Gratia Artis, the motto of the film company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), is a Latin version of “art for art's sake.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

art for art's sake

a slogan translated from the French l'art pour l'art, which was coined in the early 19th century by the French philosopher Victor Cousin. The phrase expresses the belief held by many writers and artists, especially those associated with Aestheticism, that art needs no justification, that it need serve no political, didactic, or other end

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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