Decadence, decadent period

Refers to a period of decline in creative excellence and originality in art and style. Artists from such a period are regarded lesser figures than the ones representing the height of an art movement.

A decadent or declining style may in fact be a valuable transitionary period to a new movement in art. in that respect, there is no one decadent period but several.

The last quarter of the 16th century was one such period in which is labelled ‘Italian Decadence’ in art history and is associated with the artist names: Carracci, Caravaggio, Da Cortona, Domenichino, Guido Reni, Luca Giordano. In retrospect, it was more of a move towards Baroque.

In Britain, decadent art is a derogatory term which refers to the Aesthetic Movement of England from 1880-1900. In this period artists and poets appeared to show a greater concern for form and beauty rather than content and substance, again we might today view this as a necessary step towards acceptance of impressionism, expressionism and modernism.