Stay in touch!

Never miss out on the latest articles and get sneak peeks of our favorite classes.

Art for Art’s Sake


What does it mean?

“Art for Art’s Sake” is the art as a free and natural elaboration. The art without any plan, intention or purpose. The art focuses on its pure essence.

Life Imitating Art

Although the origin of this literature concept is born from the art´s heart itself, we can place its idealizations and development in the Romantic era. The notion is to release art from any other subject, principally moral as education and utilitarianism which was the Classical concepts in the arts.


This liberation grants total autonomy to art which will be an enormous change in literature´s field, centered on the formal features, the instant and the subjective feeling and thought. This lyrical composition offers a deeper point of view of life and the world.


Now, the object is a particular and unique experience, unbound and loose of references and the only aim is the straight expression which reflects the real matter in a feedback cycle.


Despite the theory of “art for art´s sake” does not have any purpose and is out of all utility, its mere existence shows a clear paradox. Its nature is unjustified but this character gives all the chances in contriving an open, wide, infinite thought. The play of abstraction enables the recreation to relate anything with everything else. And this is its nature and goal. One justifies the other, in a virtuous circle.

quotation marks

“The Rose is without an explanation, she blooms because she blooms”, Angelus Silesius.

The Art as Catharsis

According to the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset, “the art is a subrogation of the life”. This substitution for life in the hands of art generates a change, an alteration, an inner purification of soul and mind. 


Notwithstanding that the term catharsis is a philosophical point of view from Aristotle which sets down a change thanks to the content´s meaning of a work, it is possible to apply to the aesthetic spirit of the “art for art´s sake” due to the grade of openness which the form recreates literature and general art. It is this sense of form which finally dominates the content of the work because of the perspective induced in the idea and the realisation of the language as expression. 


In the words of Gaëtan Picon: “All great art makes us see what was not in existence yet”. An internal growing up and a new possibility of life is presented. And again Ortega, “there is no art without ecstasy, in the rigorous meaning of the world, to be outside of oneself”.


Sensation, Perception, Idea

In the aesthetics’ field the abstraction´s process can be figured, in a first step, by the sensibility of the senses and the body, pure physical nature, and transmuted in idea. Body and mind´s communication engage in the evolution of the form.


This performance of the form becomes in existence and therefore in representation. The path of the form´s idealization conceives beauty in a pristine condition and in the principal substance, the genuine matter, as Novalis said: “Poetry is the absolute real thing. 


The more poetic, the most real”. Idea, form, beauty, coordinates of the aesthetic theory on “art for art´s sake” which transubstantiate in reality. We can draw the track of this experience through this mental scheme, the obscure and unknown makes personal, intimate, exclusive thanks to the handling of the form, the object is drafted by the subject, reality is your own experience.


The Rose is Without an Explanation

What is poetry? According to Benetto Croce, “language is expression”, expression of an idea or feeling. Poetry grants the color and sound and even the rest of the senses to this expression in its more exceptional category, the form of the expression is which draws all the structure procuring the style and bestowing the last cry of the poem. 


The form and the style conforms the nature of the poem as reflect of a subjective reality. And what is this reality to the poetry? What is the vision of this reality? That which is seen as a material or abstract object, form, sensation, idea in a unique and particular perception would be the answer in the “art for art´s sake” philosophy. That is its real composition and the reflection to the world in a pleasuring recreation of the apparent reality and unreality. 


“The life as a dream and the dream as life” or “the real life is absent”, as the poets said because is a perception and an idea, the mind creates everything in a natural way, in an intrinsic process, in an inherent growth. 


“The Rose is without an explanation, she blooms because she blooms”, Angelus Silesius. 


Life as a conundrum. Life as a total possibility.

Share this article
Back to top