aestheticism definition

Aestheticism is an art philosophy that tout's, "Art for art's sake" (Victor Cousin).  Those who adhere to this philosophy hold that the making of art for its own sake has enough merit on its own to merit the act of creating it.  This is in opposition to the view that art must have an alternative purpose such as for social or moral values.  William Morris (1834 - 1896), the founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement, was a major propagator of this philosophy, as was James Whistler (1834-1903).