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  PASSAGE 50

  The Arts and Crafts Movement in the United States was responsible for sweeping changes in attitudes toward the decorative arts, then considered the minor or household arts. Its focus on decorative arts helped to induce United States museums and private collectors to begin collecting furniture, glass, ceramics, metalwork, and textiles in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The fact that artisans, who were looked on as mechanics or skilled workers in the eighteenth century, are frequently considered artists today is directly attributable to the Arts and Crafts Movement of the nineteenth century. The importance now placed on attractive and harmonious home decoration can also be traced to this period, when Victorian interior arrangements were revised to admit greater light and more freely flowing spaces.

  The Arts and Crafts Movement reacted against mechanized processes that threatened handcrafts and resulted in cheapened, monotonous merchandise. Founded in the late nineteenth century by British social critics John Ruskin and William Morris, the movement revered craft as a form of art. In a rapidly industrializing society, most Victorians agreed that art was an essential moral ingredient in the home environment, and in many middle- and working-class homes craft was the only form of art, Ruskin and his followers criticized not only the degradation of artisans reduced to machine operators, but also the impending loss of daily contact with handcrafted objects, fashioned with pride, integrity, and attention to beauty.

  In the United States as well as in Great Britain, reformers extolled the virtues of handcrafted objects: simple, straightforward design; solid materials of good quality; and sound, enduring construction techniques. These criteria were interpreted in a variety of styles, ranging from rational and geometric to romantic or naturalistic. Whether abstract, stylized, or realistically treated, the consistent theme in virtually all Arts and Crafts design is nature.

  The Arts and Crafts Movement was much more than a particular style; it was a philosophy of domestic life. Proponents believed that if simple design, high-quality materials, and honest construction were realized in the home and its appointments, then the occupants would enjoy moral and therapeutic effects. For both artisan and consumer, the Arts and Crafts doctrine was seen as a magical force against the undesirable effects of industrialization.

  1. The passage primarily focuses on nineteenth-century arts and crafts in terms of which of the following?

  (A) Their naturalistic themes

  (B) Their importance in museum collections

  (C) Their British origin

  (D) Their role in an industrialized society

  2. According to the passage , before the nineteenth century, artisans were thought to be

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