Visualising the critical: artistic convention and eclecticism in Oscar Wilde’s writings on the decorative arts

van der Plaat, Deborah (2014) Visualising the critical: artistic convention and eclecticism in Oscar Wilde’s writings on the decorative arts. Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies, 19 1: 5-19.

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Author van der Plaat, Deborah
Title Visualising the critical: artistic convention and eclecticism in Oscar Wilde’s writings on the decorative arts
Journal name Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies
ISSN 1327-8746
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 19
Issue 1
Start page 5
End page 19
Total pages 15
Place of publication St Lucia, QLD, Australia
Publisher University of Queensland Press
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract In the mid-nineteenth century, the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) published his scientific study, Cosmos: A Sketch of the Physical Description of the Universe (1849). In this text Humboldt inverted the Romantic doctrine that associated imagination or artistic agency with a superior faculty and artistic genius with the gifted few. Arguing that the imagination was present within all people, but that it often lay dormant, especially among the masses, Humboldt also suggested it could be activated by contrasting botanical species from tropical and temperate climates. Such juxtapositions, he believed, could induce “more vivid impressions in the minds of [the] less highly gifted . . . heightening their powers of artistic creation” (Humboldt 454). This idea built upon his hypothesis that the greater a region’s biodiversity, the better an individual may grasp the inherent unity binding nature’s infinite variety. Seeking the similarities binding “strongly contrasting forms” the “spontaneous impressions of the untutored mind” would lead, “like the laborious deductions of the cultivated intellect, to the same intimate persuasion, that one sole and indissoluble chain binds together all nature” (5–6).
Keyword Oscar Wilde
Alexander von Humboldt
Artistic convention
Decorative arts
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: ATCH (Architecture Theory History Criticism) Publications
Official 2015 Collection
School of Architecture Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 29 Jan 2015, 08:23:55 EST by Deborah van der Plaat on behalf of School of Architecture