A Research on Arts&Crafts Movement and Bauhaus
Arts and Crafts Movement and Bauhaus are two major movements in design history. In this paper, the author aims at making an overview of the two movements including the historical, cultural and social context and revealing the philosophy behind each movement. In order to obtain an in-depth understanding, the author chooses William Morris from the Arts and Crafts Movement and Walter Gropius from Bauhaus and their significant artworks as case studies, and finally complete a comparative study of art works and art movements.
2. Overview of the Arts and Crafts Movement
The Arts and Crafts Movement originated from mid-19th century, which aimed at fighting against the decreasing design level caused by industrial mass production of furniture, interior products and architecture. The theoratical director of this movement is John Ruskin, the key practitioner is William Morris.(Kaplan, 2004) This movement was influenced by Japanese art, mainly in the aspects of jewelry and book design. At that time, artists could not fix the problems brought by industrialization, sought to escape from the reality and returned to their idealized mid-century and Gothic period. The philosophy of the movement opposed mass production and mechanic aesthetics, thus it did not become a leading style, from the ideologist perspective, it is negative. However it brought design style references to later designers and has profound meaning to the New Art movement. The main characteristics of Arts and Crafts Movement stresses craftsmanship, naturalism, oriental decoration, Gothic and other mid-century styles, the sincere of design, simple and rustic functions, and clearly objects to mechanical production and artificial trend. (Naylor, 1971)
3. Overview of the Bauhaus
The term Bauhaus invented by Walter Gropius was originally the name of a design school in Germany. The establishment of Bauhaus symbolizes the existence of modern design. (Gropius, 1965) At the beginning of the 19th century, all kinds of vintage trends brought European society and industrial products an artificial and superficial style such as Gothic steam engine and Rococo weaving machine. Some designers wanted to combine art and technology in design, thus led to the existence of Bauhaus. (Wingler&Stain, 1969) The building of Bauhaus have significant positions in architecture history. In its furniture workshop, a series of steel pole chairs were invented, which opened a new chapter of modern furniture design. (Wingler&Stain, 1969) In terms of the design eduction philosophy of Bauhaus, student should make technology and art should achieve harmony, their visual sensitiveness should reach to rational level,have scientific understanding of material, structure, textile and color, collaborative work is the core of design, artists, entrepreneurs and technical workers should cooperate closely, students’ assignment should integrate with enterprise projects.
4. William Morris and his three significant works
William Morris is one of the key designers and leaders of Arts and Crafts Movement in the UK. He was a world-renowned wallpaper and textile designer. His aimed at recovering the style of old times particularly the mid-century style. He denied the mechanic and industrial style, as well as criticized the over-decorated Victorian style. (Stansky, 1996) He believed that high class design only had three sources, which were mid-century, Gothic and naturalism. He stressed the combination of form and function, insisted on craftsmanship, and repetitively emphasized two basic principles, one was product design and architecture served for the public rather than a few people, the other was design work must be collective activities instead of individual labor. The Red House (see Pic.1) achieved huge success. Morris adopted the functional demands as the main consideration and partially absorbed the mid-century architectural elements especially...
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