Monday 4 April 2011

Aesthetic Movement Exhibition at the V&A

 © National Portrait Gallery

Patience.... what's that all about? Well, if you have always been wondering, wonder no more because the V&A has a wonderful new exhibition The Cult of Beauty: Beautiful Dreamers running from now until the 17th of July.

The Independant has an interesting article about the Aesthetic Movement and the Exhibition on their website here.
' captivating as this cult of personality proved to be, their peacock feathers and long-haired loftiness also left them open to ridicule, together with stories of decadence and complicated amours. As the years went by, they were attacked for being a narcissistic, pavonine and self-regarding group that was prone to excessive foppery.

Satirical ribaldry against them emerged in the form of cartoons in Punch and in Gilbert and Sullivan's opera Patience. Calloway says this cloud of disparaging humour did "slightly puncture the grandeur of the movement". A young Oscar Wilde, still a student at Oxford at the time, came on board the movement to counteract the negative publicity after being asked by the theatre impresario, D'Oyly Carte, who was promoting Gilbert and Sullivan's opera, to undertake a series of lectures in America so the nation would understand the opera's many contemptuous references to the movement. Wilde spent a year lecturing, giving 300 talks and travelling a thousand miles to spread the word. His efforts paid off: aestheticism became well understood in America.'
You will find full details about this fascinating exhibition on the V&A Website.

The Cult of Beauty: the Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900, V&A, London SW7 (020 7942 2000) 2 April to 17 July.

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