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significant form


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A rather bewildering, but once very fashionable term, devised by the English critic Clive Bell (1881–1964) to denote ‘the quality that distinguishes works of art from all other classes of objects’. It was much used in British artistic and theoretical circles in the earlier 20th century and, whatever its many shortcomings, was undoubtedly influential in furthering the appreciation of works of art for their formal qualities as well as their content or subject-matter.

Subjects: Art.


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