The Arts and Crafts Movement
The Arts and Craft movement was a social and artistic movement, which began in Britain in the second half of the nineteenth century and continued into the twentieth spreading to continental Europe and the USA. Its adherents-artists, architects, designers and Craftsmen sought to reassert the importance of and craftsmanship in all arts in the face of increasing industrialization, which they felt was sacrificing quality in the pursuit of quantity. Its supporters and practioners were united not so much by a style rather than the common goal- a desire to break down the hierarchy of the arts and to revive traditional handicrafts and make art that could be affordable to all.
The leading exponent and propagandist of the movement was the
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It was developed by a brilliant and energetic generation of artists and designers, who sought to fashion an art form appropriate to the modern age. During this extraordinary time, urban life as we now understand it was established. Old customs, habits, and artistic styles sat alongside new, combining a wide range of contradictory images and ideas. Many artists, designers, and architects were excited by new technologies and lifestyles, while others retreated into the past, embracing the spirit world, fantasy, and myth.
In design Art Nouveau was characterized by writhing plant forms and an opposition to the historicism which had plagued the 19th century. There was a tension implicit throughout the movement between the decorative and the modern which can be seen in the work of individual designers as well as in the chronology of the whole. Its emphasis on decoration and artistic unity links the movement to contemporary Symbolist ideas in art, as seen in the work of the Vienna Secessionists, but the movement was also associated with Arts and Crafts ideas and, as such, Art Nouveau forms a bridge between Morris and Gropius (recognized by Pevsner in his book, Pioneers of the Modern Movement, 1936).
In Britain the style was exemplified by the architecture of Rennie Mackintosh, and the design work of the Macdonald sisters. The lingering impact of Morris in England slowed down the progress of the new style in design although Mackmurdo,