An attempt to grasp the term beauty

What does determine our aesthetic views? Is it just our sense of beauty, and if yeas is the sense of beauty somewhat permanent and constant? Is it not dependent on the ideal of the particular time or as the Germans say on "zeitgeist"- the spirit of the time. Neither beauty nor truth have a clear definition, however our sense of beauty is associated with positive emotions which are initiated by examination of certain objects, such as views of nature, animals, the countenance of people. Our aesthetic satisfaction has a tendency to increase, if the presented image reflects the essence of the object, its most characteristic features. According to Schopenhauer our pleasure in nature, as in poetry, or in painting is derived from contemplation of the object without admixture of personal will. "To the artist the Rhine is a varied series of bewitching views.. to the traveller who is bent on his personal affairs - only as a line. To the artistic perception it is all one whether we see sunset from a prison or from a palace", says W. Durant. Generally one might partially agree with this statement. However the male or female beauty induces a certain sense or desire to own or control it; besides purely unconsciously we display an urge to be accepted by these persons, because it increases our importance or even our social importance. The essence of beauty is a notion much more vacillating and depending of the current ideals. The general judgement of female beauty even within the European culture, differs from one time period to another, as it can be proved by the paintings. Just compare the works of Cranach, Raphael, Rubens, Ingres and Modilgliani. It is certain that the ideal of human beauty is essentially associated with health and with those details or attributes which underscore it. However the pleasure of the human looks is something more complex: the form of lips, of nose or of eyes can hardly be considered as a criteria of health. There are presumably other hidden mechanisms of our consciousness. These value the elements of symmetry, proportion, expressiveness which create the sense of pleasure and play a great role in our aesthetic perception in full accord with Schopenhauer's opinion concerning pleasure without the admixture of personal will. Returning to the topic of art, one has to admit that real art is elitist by definition, because to create and to display a new aesthetic emotion a great talent even a genius is needed. Schopenhauer asserted " that art is greater than science because the latter proceeds by laborious accumulation and cautious reasoning, while the former reaches its goal at once by intuition and presentation; science can go along with talent, but art requires a genius". Following the trends of art development one should not loose sight of the increasing role of the social consciousness, a considerably grater audience of people who are interested in art, and the simultaneously the simplification of art expression. If one looks retrospectively on development of the West European art from the ancient times on it can be seen that the initial tendencies to reflect the artistic impressions inspired by the surrounding nature and humans has finally turned to abstract images. It seems paradoxical that while science gets more and more complex, art rushes in the opposite direction towards simplification. The most dramatic change in art is associated with the modern art and its branches, when apogee in the rise of pluralism was reached.

Time table
The impact of social aspects
The Greek philosophy and art
The Christian period
17th-18th Century
19th Century
20th Century
A Historic Review
An attempt to grasp the term beauty
Modern times
Market dominance
Site map
Site Design by Irina Timenovich  
Copyright © 2001-2005, Ariel Hoff. All rights reserved.