Exhibitions

The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement in Britain 1860-1900


Victoria & Albert Museum, London
April – July 2011

Admission charge will apply

This will be the first international exhibition to explore the unconventional creativity of the Aesthetic Movement in Britain (1860-1900). The well spring of the ‘new art’ movements of the late 19th century, Aestheticism is now acknowledged for its revolutionary re-negotiation of the relationships between the artist and society, between the ‘fine’ and design arts, as well as between art and ethics and art and criticism. Aesthetic sensibilities produced some of the most sophisticated and sensuously beautiful artworks of the Western tradition.

Featuring superb artworks from the traditional high art of painting, to fashionable trends in architecture, interior design, domestic furnishings, art photography and new modes of dress, this exhibition traces Aestheticism’s evolution from the artistic concerns of a small circle of avant-garde artists and authors to a broad cultural phenomenon.

The exhibition will feature paintings, furniture, ceramics, metalwork, wallpapers, photographs and costumes, as well as architectural and interior designs. Included will be major paintings by Whistler, Rossetti, Leighton, and Burne-Jones. Architecture and interior design will be represented by the works of Edward Godwin, George Aitchison, Philip Webb and Thomas Jeckyll, among others. Art furnishings designed by these and others, including William Morris, Christopher Dresser, Bruce Talbert, Henry Batley, and Walter Crane will showcase not only the designers and manufacturers they worked for, but also new retailers, such as Liberty’s.

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