The Arts and Crafts Movement

Topics: Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Pages: 4 (1264 words) Published: October 7, 2008
The Arts and Craft movement was a social and artistic movement, which began in Britain in the second half of the nineteenth century and continued into the twentieth spreading to continental Europe and the USA. Its adherents-artists, architects, designers and Craftsmen sought to reassert the importance of and craftsmanship in all arts in the face of increasing industrialization, which they felt was sacrificing quality in the pursuit of quantity. Its supporters and practioners were united not so much by a style rather than the common goal- a desire to break down the hierarchy of the arts and to revive traditional handicrafts and make art that could be affordable to all.

The leading exponent and propagandist of the movement was the designer, painter, and social reformer William Morris. He developed the view that art should be both beautiful and functional. His ideal, the pure and simple beauty of modern craftsmanship was further strengthened by his friendships with the painters Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti who also looked to the middle ages for aesthetic guidance . Yet, while the Arts and Crafts movement was in large part a reaction to industrialization, if looked at on the whole, it was neither anti-industrial nor anti-modern. Some of the European factions believed that machines were in fact necessary, but they should only be used to relieve the tedium of mundane, repetitive tasks. At the same time, some Arts and Crafts leaders felt that objects should also be affordable. The conflict between quality production and 'demo' design, and the attempt to reconcile the two, dominated design debate at the turn of the twentieth century. Though the spontaneous personality of the designer became more central than the historical "style" of a design, certain tendencies stood out: reformist neo-gothic influences, rustic and "cottagey" surfaces, repeating designs, vertical and elongated forms. In order to express the beauty inherent in craft, some products...
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