L'art pour l'art

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L'art pour l'art [ laʀpuʀˈlaʀ ] ( French , literally "art for art", meaning "art for art's sake"; sometimes also Latin ars gratia artis ) is a phrase used to express that art is sufficient itself and could make no external purpose subservient to the purposes of the Autotelic .

In addition to art, the phrase is also given the importance of doing something for the sake of the thing itself, without ulterior motives for application, business or use. In this sense, it describes a counter-position to art conceptions with a purposeful, politically committed direction such as trend painting , trend literature or agitprop . L'art pour l'art can also be understood derogatory when it is used for useless doing or being playful.

The phrase was the program of a French art theory of the 19th century, which was particularly represented by the so-called Parnassiens and their forerunner Théophile Gautier . The oldest known evidence can already be found in the treatise Choix de pièces: notices sur divers tableaux du Musée Napoléon by the art historian Toussaint-Bernard Émeric-David , which was published in Paris in 1812. With this idiom, the priority of the artistic form and the aesthetic design is emphasized. In France, this conception of art was mainly represented in literature by Gustave Flaubert and Charles Baudelaire , in England by Oscar Wilde and in Germany up to the turn of the century by Stefan George .

Theodor W. Adorno's dialectical thinking is located in the area of tension between engagement and l'art pour l'art . According to him, each of the two options negates itself with the other: “Committed art because, as art, it is necessarily set apart from reality, it crosses out the difference to it; that of l'art pour l'art, because through its absolutization it also denies that inextinguishable relationship with reality "- criticize autonomous art" through its mere existence "a state" that moves towards the total barter society "in who is only there for something else.

The phrase can be seen in the opening credits of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio , where it is set in Latin (ars gratia artis) in the golden film ribbon around the roaring MGM lion.

See also


  • Wolfgang Ullrich : L'art pour l'art. The seductive power of an aesthetic rigorism , in: Ders .: What was art? Biographies of a Concept. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-596-16317-X , pp. 124-143 ( Fischer-Taschenbucher 16317).
  • Theodor W. Adorno : Commitment . In: Notes on Literature III . Collected Writings Volume 11. 3rd Edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1990, pp. 409-430.
  • Larissa Kikol: Nicely gagged - On the sound density of l'art politique pour l'art politique , in: Kunstforum International , edition: Politics, ethics, art. Cultural Climate Change - Strategies and Tools , Volume 254, 2018

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Theodor W. Adorno: Engagement . In: Notes on Literature III . Collected Writings Volume 11. 3rd Edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1990, pp. 409-430, here p. 410.
  2. ^ Theodor W. Adorno: Aesthetic Theory . Collected Writings Volume 7. 6th edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1996, p. 335.