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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