May 3, 2013

“Art for art’s sake.” (“L’art pour l’art.”)


“Art for art’s sake.” (“L’art pour l’art”)
Victor Cousin (1792-1867)
       French philosopher 
       Famous phrase first used by Cousin in a lecture at the Sorbonne (University of Paris) in 1818
is widely credited with either coining or uttering the first notable public use of the phrase “l’art pour l’art,” during his lecture on aesthetics titled “Du Vrai, du Beau, et du Bien” (“Truth, Beauty and Goodness”). In his hifalutin’ remarks on those topics, Cousin said:  
“We must have religion for religion’s sake, morality for morality’s sake, as with art for art’s sake...the beautiful cannot be the way to what is useful, or to what is good, or to what is holy; it leads only to itself.”  
       Cousin’s use gave the concept of “art for art’s sake” it’s initial notoriety. However, credit for popularizing and promoting it to encourage the creation of art that is not limited by realism or social usefulness is generally given to the French writer and art critic
Théophile Gautier, who began using it in the mid-1830s. It became a philosophical basis of the so-called Aesthetic Movement in art and literature that developed in the 19th Century.


“Art for art’s sake exists in nature more than is believed.” 
Victor Hugo (1802-1885) 
       French novelist, playwright and poet

       From his novel
L’Homme Qui Rit (The Man Who Laughs), first published in 1869


“Art for art’s sake is a philosophy of the well-fed.” 
       Cao Yu (1910-1996)
       Chinese playwright
in the London Observer, April 13, 1980


“Art for art’s sake is an empty phrase. Art for the sake of the true, art for the sake of the good and the beautiful, that is the faith I am searching for.” 
       George Sand (pseudonym of Baroness Amandine Aurore Lucile Dupin; 1804-1876)
       French writer
in a letter to her friend Alexandre Saint-Jean in 1872


“ARS GRATIA PECUNIAE.” (“Art for the sake of money.”)
Stan Freberg (b. 1926)
       American comic genius and occasional ad man
       Motto on the “The Great Seal of Freberg,” which features a a seal with sunglasses. Devised for his advertising agency “Freberg Ltd. (But Not Very).”


“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”
Edward Abbey (1927-1989)
       American writer and environmental activist
       In his article “Grow and Die,”
published in Penthouse magazine, September 1979


       The famed motto of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios
       Around 1916, Hollywood publicist Howard Dietz was asked to develop a motto for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. He came up with “Ars gratia artis,” a Latin version of the phrase “art for art’s sake.”
       Through most of the decades since then, the motto has appeared over the image of a roaring lion at the beginning of films produced by MGM.

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