Exquisite patterns and surface ornamentation were an integral part of the aesthetics of the late Victorian era. In America, these developments were incorporated into the themes of national expositions and artistic movements, as cottage industries grew and productivity in the decorative arts flourished. The last three decades of the 19th century saw a change in sensibility that resulted in new stylistic approaches in American decorative arts, a departure from the previous era of Rococo and Renaissance Revival excess. Shapes became more angular, smoother and less flamboyant. The popular carvings and deep modeling of earlier years disappeared as ornamentation became more linear and lighter in appearance. Decoration focused on the surface with rich and elegant patterns adorning furniture, objects of every sort, and architectural and interior decorations. This artistic reawakening was prompted by the effects of the Industrial Revolution on contemporary design.
This new attitude, with its focus on ornament and the decorative, was later referred to as the Aesthetic Movement, but it also encompassed the early Arts and Crafts Movement as well. The purpose was to bring a refined sensibility and components of “good taste” to the domestic interior. Art and good taste not only denoted good character, but also could be used to induce proper moral conduct and actions, thereby contributing to the betterment of society. This placed a heavy burden on designers/decorators as well as on women as keepers of the home. Americans drew inspiration from the writing and work of English artists. This was a period of great eclecticism. Tastes ranged from the Modern Gothic through the Persian, Greek and Islamic, to the Japanese, and with more than a nod to Mother Nature. Yet, regardless of the influence, surface pattern reigned supreme. English reformers dictated that ornament should be derived from nature, and pattern should be flat and stylized. Forms were accentuated by colored outlines, or often with touches of gold. The emphasis was on art and on development of a refined sensibility. It was all a matter of taste.
1. What is the main topic of the passage?
- (A) defining the “Aesthetic Movement”
- (B) decorative arts in late 19th century America
- (C) English influences on American decorative arts in the late 19th century
- (D) The change in tastes from “Rocco and Renaissance Revival” to the ‘Aesthetic Movement” in late 19th century America
2. The word “integral” in line 1 is closest in meaning to
- (A) essential
- (B) additional
- (C) important
- (D) beautifying
3. According to the passage, during the Aesthetic Movement popular carvings and deep modeling of earlier years
- (A) were popular
- (B) again became popular
- (C) disappeared
- (D) defined good taste
4. The word “elegant” in line 9 is closest in meaning to
- (A) beautiful
- (B) ornamental
- (C) colorful
- (D) refined
5. According to the passage, the purpose of the Aesthetic Movement was to
- (A) induce proper moral conduct and actions
- (B) define what was meant by good taste in the domestic interior
- (C) encompass Arts and Crafts as well as ornament an decoration
- (D) define good character and contribute to the betterment of society
6. The phrase “new attitude” in line 14 refers to
- (A) including the early Arts and Craft Movement as well
- (B) artistic reawakening
- (C) the Industrial Revolution
- (D) Rococo and Renaissance Revival
7. The word “denoted” in line 16 is closest in meaning to
- (A) promoted
- (B) facilitated
- (C) developed
- (D) signified
8. Where in the passage does the author mention the influence of art and good taste on morals?
- (A) lines 5-9
- (B) lines 10-14
- (C) lines 15-20
- (D) lines 20-24
9. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?
- (A) designers and decorators were mainly responsible for starting the new attitude
- (B) the movement led to a higher standard of morality in late 19th century America
- (C) the Americans considered the English to be the arbiters of good taste
- (D) women, as keepers of the home, faced a heavy burden
10. According to the passage, which of the following remained most important, regardless of influences from other countries?
- (A) surface pattern
- (B) English opinions
- (C) good taste
- (D) Proper moral conduct and actions
11. Which of the following is NOT mentioned as a feature of the Aesthetic Movement?
- (A) shapes became less flamboyant
- (B) ornamentation became lighter in appearance
- (C) forms were accentuated by colored lines
- (D) decorations focused mainly on furniture