Thursday Aug 21, 2003

Is Leo Lion?

Ars gratia artis (Latin for art for art’s sake) that banners Leo, the MGM Lion, was adopted in the 1930s as the motto of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios; credited to songwriter/publicist Howard Dietz. If you mention that your movie script is art to a major studio in Hollywood, you will be shortly shown the exit—and don’t slam the door on your way out.

“Art for art’s sake” became an oft-repeated slogan. The French philosopher Victor Cousin (1792-1867) said in a lecture at the Sorbonne in 1818, “We must have religion for religion’s sake, morality for morality’s sake, as with art for art’s sake ... the beautiful cannot be the way to what is useful, or to what is good, or to what is holy; it leads only to itself.”

—The Columbia World of Quotations

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