art for art's sake

A slogan meaning that the beauty of the fine arts is reason enough for pursuing them — that art does not have to serve purposes taken from politics, religion, economics, and so on. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Edgar Allan Poe, and Oscar Wilde argued for the doctrine of art for art's sake.

Nearby words

  1. art,
  2. art brut,
  3. art deco,
  4. art director,
  5. art film,
  6. art form,
  7. art glass,
  8. art historical,
  9. art house,
  10. art lining


Ars Gratia Artis, the motto of the film company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), is a Latin version of “art for art's sake.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.