(949 words)

1. Terminology

Aestheticism can be understood both systematically and historically. Systematically, the term refers to an artistic and stylistic intention that engages in an artistic promotion of the aesthetic for its own sake; it is extremely focused on form (to the point of formalism and mannerism) and critical of culture. Aestheticist art is not characterized by its reference to reality, as legitimized by the category of …

Cite this page
Laak, Lothar van, “Aestheticism”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 20 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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