Throughout the ages, there has been a great debate about the nature of beauty. The concept has been discussed in literary works and philosophical treatises. The most common approach to the problem has been to locate beauty in the object itself. However, this definition can be ambiguous, and the question has also posed itself in relation to other factors such as the person who perceives the object.
Among ancient Greek philosophers, the concept of beauty was recognised as an order of definite proportions or qualities. Aristotle, for example, claimed that beauty consisted of symmetry, and that living things must present an arrangement of parts which are coherent with each other. Similarly, Euclid argued that the beauty of a line or a building would be a matter of proportion.
For the ancient Greeks, the concept of beauty was not only physical, but also abstract and spiritual. They saw it as an expression of spirit and an expression of pleasure. Many of their treatments of beauty were ecstatic, and they often described the pleasures of beauty in terms of love, desire and longing. The classical conception of beauty is sometimes expressed in mathematical ratios, such as the golden ratio. It was also embodied in the construction of classical and neo-classical architecture, music, literature, film, and sculpture.
During the eighteenth century, some of the most important philosophers of the period argued that beauty is subjective. David Hume, for example, argues that beauty is a subjective state. He says that individuals should acquiesce in their sentiments. He argues that individual will plays an important role in the perception of beauty.
In his Essays, Moral, Political and Literary (1758), David Hume defends the idea that beauty is an experience that enables the aesthetic faculty to feel and think. His account of the beautiful is gentle and willing to permit variance. It is based on the principle that individuals are free to express their own feelings and sentiments.
The notion of beauty as an objective quality has been discussed in most of the early philosophical treatises. Plotinus’ ecstatic neo-Platonism is one example, in which he connects the perception of beauty to the experience of desire and longing. In fact, beauty calls out for love.
Another important theory of beauty is Aristotle’s. This is a symmetrical conception of beauty, a conception which is reflected in classical and neo-classical sculpture and architecture. Although Aristotle disagrees with Plato about the precise definition of beauty, both recognize the value of a sense of harmony and order in the world. In particular, Aristotle recognises that beauty is a definiteness of proportions, while Plato recognises it as a harmony of the forms of the world.
The concept of beauty has become a topic of interest in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well. During this period, artists began to adopt more urgent projects in an attempt to counteract the trivialization of beauty. The twentieth century was a time when thinkers struggled to find a way to reconcile the beauty of the modern world with the suffering of the age of wars and genocide.