Definition of the Aesthetic Movement from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

the Aesthetic Movement

 
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a movement that developed in England in the late 1880s. It was based on the belief that art should exist as an independent idea, and not in order to support religion, the state, etc. This principle is most clearly expressed in the phrase 'art for art's sake'. The movement was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and John Ruskin. Its supporters included William Morris, Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley. see also Arts and Crafts Movement
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: the Aesthetic Movement