The origin of Art and Crafts Movement

The Art and Crafts Movement took its name from the Art and Crats Exhibition Society, founded in 1887. The exhibition was divided in four section - Britain, America, Europe, Japan.
Who were the major figures of that movement, and what were the principles on which it was based?

Art and Crafts Movement
Augustus Pugin
Augustus Pugin (1812-1852)

He was an English architect, designer, artist and crit. He becan a Roman Catholi convert in 1834, and he thought that the Reformation caused a spiritual decline in religion and even in the arts, He was leader in the Gothic Revival in the Architecture. The culmination of his work was the interior design of the Palace of Westminster.
In his book Contrasts, published in 1836, Pugin explained the link between the quality of a society with its architecture. The modern decadent palaces couldn't be compared to the beauty of the medieval architectural structures.

Another of his books, True Principle of Pointed or Christian Architecture, published in 1841, inspired John Ruskin, and his criticism.

Art and Crafts Movement
Joihn Ruskin
John Ruskin (1919-1900)

He was an English art crit, and an important social thinker and philanthropist.
He was influenced by his parents, and by the international travels he did. In 1833-35 he and his family visited Strasborg, Schaffhausen, and many Italian cities - Milan, Genoa, Venice, and Turin. He went to Turin frequently.
The mechanized production and the division of work created by the industrial revolution produce slave workers. Workers have to be indipendent, and they should make design and create the things they want and need.
His followers prefered crafts products over industrial products, and they were concerned about the loss of traditional skills.
But the dangerous effects of the industrial production are deeper than that we can see at the first glance. The difference is not only between handmade or industrial products, but within each person. A worker is not more free, and his work is owned by others.

The Stone of Venice by Ruskin

One of his most important books he wrote was The Stone of Venice, that had great influence on William Morris.

Art and Crafts Movement
William Morris
William Morris (1834-1896)

He was an English designer, poet, novelist, translator, and socialist activist.
He was inspired by the Ruskin's books, and he adopted the Ruskin's idea of the superiority of hand-craftsmanship on industrial manifactures, and he considered artisans at the same level of the artists.

Art and Crafts Movement
William Morris's Red House

William Morris's Red House in London designed by Philip Webb, and completed in 1860, is one of the most important building of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
He followed Crane as President of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1891.

Art and Crafts in America

The Art and Crafts movement was present in U.S. thank to design promoted by Gustav Stickley in his magazine, The Craftsman, and the desgns produced on the Roycroft Campus, and publicized by Elbert Hubbard on The Fra.
But while the European Art and Crafts Movement was very critical about industrialisation, the Americans used the Art&Crafts decorative arts to support the consumerism oriented to well-decorated middle-class homes.
The first American Art and Crafts Exhibition was in 1897 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.


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