What Is Beauty?


The question of what is beauty has fascinated twentieth-century thinkers. While they were suspicious of beauty as a distraction, they were also unsure how to reconcile it with a world filled with war, genocide, and wastelands. Arthur Danto described the abandonment of beauty in 1992 as an ‘age of indignation.’ Modern art became the target of sabotage, from Dadaists who planted urinals in art shows to Surrealists who deconstructed traditional poetic forms.

In the classical conception of beauty, the parts of something are arranged in such a way that the entire unit is aesthetically pleasing. This is the primordial Western conception of beauty, and it is exemplified in classical architecture, neo-classical sculpture, classical literature, and classical music. Edmund Burke argued that beauty was a series of qualities that made something beautiful through the senses. He rejected the view that beauty could only be measured by proportion and harmony.

The ancient philosophical tradition sought to define the nature of beauty and how it can be measured. One approach was to identify beauty with the idea of ratio or symmetrical relation of parts to the whole. Euclid used the example of a line divided into unequal parts to demonstrate how beauty can be measured in terms of proportion. Then, he added the pleasures of experience. This view did not account for apprehension. As a result, most twentieth-century philosophers abandoned the topic of beauty.

A second approach to the study of beauty was to apply a critique to the concept. The 1980s saw a resurgence of interest in beauty. Feminist philosophy was particularly interested in the subject. Some of theorists of beauty used the aesthetics of taste to make their own statements. During this period, the dominant culture was a powerful influence in shaping how individuals viewed beauty. However, a strong dominant culture can impose its own definition of beauty.

A third approach was to focus on identity, self-expression, and creativity. Nellie Eden, for example, used futuristic design and metallic type in its site. The site also incorporates bright neon green lines. The website is largely image-led and takes cues from image-sharing websites. Nellie Eden’s style evokes the feeling of femininity. Mastheads, which are adorned in traditional serif capitals, are among the most striking elements.

In his Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary, David Hume clarified that beauty was not a quality of things, but rather a state of mind that contemplates them. Moreover, the notion of beauty differed from person to person. In Hume’s view, beauty is a subjective experience, and its perception depends on the individual’s will and sentiment. In contrast, a tyrannical notion of taste enslaves an individual to an idealised idea of beauty.

Acne has many negative associations, including social stigma and the possibility of depression. It can limit a person’s participation in daily social activities, and adds to the pressures of adolescence. Western societies hold that a person must have a clear complexion, strong nails, and clean hair to be beautiful. These attributes are not necessarily necessary, but they are desirable. But acne can have a devastating effect on one’s self-esteem and well-being.