The Concept of Beauty in Art and Culture


Beauty is an important concept in art and culture. It is the defining quality of many works, but its value depends on who makes it and how they see it.

Several theories of beauty have been developed within Western philosophical and artistic traditions. One of the most-prosecuted debates in this field concerns whether beauty is objective or subjective.

The first, and most widely accepted, approach to beauty is that it is objective. This theory, often called the Platonic account of beauty, is based on a conception of aesthetics that holds that only something can be beautiful if it has symmetry or harmony between its parts.

This account of beauty is criticized because it can be limiting and may lead to the creation of confusion. For example, it can be difficult to understand why some things are symmetrical and others not. It also leads to the suspicion that symmetry in something could be an indication of ugliness.

Another approach is that beauty is a property of things that cannot be defined and that is dependent on the emotions of the people who perceive it. This is similar to the idea that art is a process of communication between people who have different points of view, but it can be more complicated.

A third approach is that beauty is a concept that can be applied to different kinds of objects. For example, a snowy mountain scene might be beautiful if it is captured in a photograph that can be shown to a family.

Similarly, a work of art might be beautiful in that it is aesthetically pleasing or interesting, and it might even be useful, such as a painting or sculpture.

Some artists, such as Picasso, Munch and Schoenberg, have consciously tried to break with traditional standards of beauty, sometimes just to make a point or to challenge the audience.

It is worth noting, however, that in the twentieth century, some of these approaches have been abandoned because they were trivialized in theory. For example, some philosophers argued that the value of beauty should be attributed to its pleasures, rather than to the object itself.

Other philosophers, such as Theodor Adorno, argued that beauty should be used to show ugliness that is a part of life in certain societies. These philosophers believe that it is art’s responsibility to expose the ugliness that is proscribed by a capitalist society, so that it can be reclaimed.