A definition of beauty is not a static idea but a fluid concept. Beauty is a subjective experience, not merely a mental state that occurs in our brains. It connects observers to objects and to communities of appreciation. But how does beauty work? What are the elements that make something beautiful? How does beauty relate to aesthetic value? What can beauty teach us about the world around us? This article explores these ideas. Read on to find out more!
Until the eighteenth century, most philosophical accounts of beauty had a purely objectual character, and were concerned with object qualities. Augustine, for instance, asks explicitly in De Veritate Religione whether things are beautiful because they give us pleasure or because they are beautiful for other reasons. Augustine, however, chose the latter option. He also linked beauty to the response of love and desire, and he placed it in the realm of Forms.
Throughout the twentieth century, the topic of beauty and its definition began to receive renewed interest, partly due to the work of art critic Dave Hickey and feminist re-constructivism. During this period, several theorists attempted to address the antinomy of taste. Despite the ambiguity of defining beauty, the term “beautiful” has remained a recurring theme throughout contemporary society. If you’re a fan of modern-day beauty, or just want to improve your own beauty, these theories are for you.