What happened in Victorian painting and sculpture after the Pre-Raphaelites? Aestheticism has been called the next avant-garde movement but attention has centered on literary figures such as Algernon Charles Swinburne, Walter Pater, and Oscar Wilde. This volume is the first scholarship study of parallel trends in the visual arts, including the work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, James McNeill Whistler, Edward Burne-Jones, Simeon Solomon, and Albert Moore among others.
Victorian Aestheticism has often been traded as a frivolous elevation of art above the concerns of political and social life. This book reinterprets Aestheticism as a significant exploration of what it might mean to produce works of art in the modern world. The chapters address not only "art for art's sake" but also linkages with the realms of science and morality. A major concern is the relationship between art and sexuality, from the experiments of the Rossetti circle in the 1860s to the male nude in late-Victorian sculpture. Both homosexual and heterosexual eroticism emerge as key issues in the artistic debates of the late-Victorian period.
As a complement to the existing literature on Pre-Raphaelitism, this collection is essential reading for all students of nineteenth-century art, literature, and culture.
Contributors are: Caroline Arscott, Robyn Asleson, Colin Cruise, Whitney Davis, Kate Flint, Alastair Grieve, Michael Hatt, Anne Koval, Alison Smith, and Robin Spencer