Catulus in the preceding generation, was a kind of dilettante poet and a precursor of the poetry of pleasure, which attained such prominence in the elegiac poets of the Augustan age.
From this time, with the exception of occasional public appearances, he gave himself up to elegant luxury, with which he combined a sort of dilettante pursuit of philosophy, literature and art.
At Athens he must have been a dilettante, an idler, without political rights or duties.
This feeling explains his detestation of foreign manners and superstitions, his loathing not only of inhuman crimes and cruelties but even of the lesser derelictions from selfrespect, his scorn of luxury and of art as ministering to luxury, his mockery of the poetry and of the stale and dilettante culture of his time, and perhaps, too, his indifference to the schools of philosophy and his readiness to identify all the professors of stoicism with the reserved and close-cropped puritans, who concealed the worst vices under an outward appearance of austerity.
In the days of the great dilettante Yoshimasa (1449-1490), lacquer experts devised a new style, laka-makie, or decoration in relief, which immensely augmented the beauty of the ware, and constituted a feature altogether special to Japan.