The idea that the creation and enjoyment of aesthetic objects can produce radical changes in society stands out as a fundamental tenet of William Morris’ conceptions about art, as they were theorised and practiced between the 1860s and the 1890s. Comprehending why the establishment of a new, equalitarian society requires an integrated view of aesthetics and ethics, and why the quest for interart osmosis is worth pursuing, entails assessing the significance he attached to the notion of primeval unity of the arts, to organic art, and to double talent. While exploring how different expressive codes interact simultaneously on the same page, Morris strove to create polymorphous artworks which convey a sense of harmonious wholeness. He conceived of calligraphy and typography as forms of art in which verbal and visual components generate organic cohesion. The illuminated manuscripts he produced between 1856 and 1890 merge calligraphy and ornamentation, iconicity and pictorialism, and solicit acts of reading/viewing that encompass both the meaning and the appearance of words; more importantly, they raise issues of how to create an artwork that can be perceived as a cosmos. His theories of book design are also founded on the idea that the ideal printed text should reveal the beauty and vitality of organic art as well as disclose correspondences between form and content. The fifty-three volumes published by the Kelmscott Press between 1891 and 1898 testify to his quest for verbal/visual harmony and order. In numerous lectures and essays Morris maintained that medieval illuminated manuscripts and early printed books, while bearing witness to the expression of originality and spontaneity, achieve interart osmosis and activate multiple modes of comprehension. Pages are microcosms which elicit responses not only for the subject matter they explore, but also for the aesthetic value they possess. His belief that reading and seeing are inter-related activities requires further consideration, because it affected his evaluation of the impact produced by the polymorphous nature of his art. Indeed, Morris’ calligraphic and printed pages engage viewers/readers in acts of perception that are as stimulating as demanding. For Morris the relationships between art and society in the Middle Ages offered outstanding instances of work which involves manual skills and creativity, and testifies to double talent. The re-evaluation of handicrafts, which constitutes a major topic of ‘The Lesser Arts’ (1877), ‘Early England’ (1886), ‘Ancient Society, Medieval Society’ (1886), written with Belfort Bax,1 ‘Feudal England’ (1887), ‘Art and Industry in the Fourteenth Century’ (1887), ‘The Revival of Handicraft’ (1888), ‘The Arts and Crafts of Today’ (1889), ‘The Development of Modern Society’ (1890), and ‘Medieval Society: Early Period, The Rough Side of the Middle Ages’, written with Belfort Bax and published in Socialism: Its Growth and Outcome (1893), provide historical evidence that medieval artists expressed not only fantasy, power of invention and originality, but also their sense of belonging to a community. By claiming that the creation and enjoyment of beautiful artefacts are not exceptional faculties, but pertain to all human beings and develop in a favourable environment, Morris wanted to demonstrate that artistic creativity is inextricably connected with social cohesion. The idea that art and work are entwined substantiates a utopian social model founded on high praise of medieval Arts and Crafts, which marked the apogee of pristine, spontaneous representation of beauty and testified to fellowship among artists-artisans.
Scheda prodotto non validato
Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo
|Titolo:||The Quest for Verbal/Visual Cosmos in William Morris's Calligraphy and Typography|
|Autori interni:||SPINOZZI, Paola|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2009|
|Appare nelle tipologie:|