Beauty – A Perception
Beauty is widely defined as a subjective feeling of aesthetic qualities that make these qualities pleasant to see. These qualities may be in the form of physical appearance, or in the form of the emotional appeal that they generate. However, the term ‘beauty’ is usually used in relation to the artistic appreciation of beauty. Such aesthetic qualities, with beauty and art, is usually the main theme of aesthetics, among the various branches of fine art.
According to some aestheticians, beauty is not an object of knowledge but an emotion that can be experienced, thus a feeling that can be communicated and appreciated. For this reason, many theories exist on what constitutes beauty. It could also be said that beauty varies according to a person’s culture, personal associations and social status. Still, there are some common elements of beauty that remain unshakable for all people.
Beauty as an essential characteristic of things is generally conceived to be a physical and chemical attribute of a thing. This definition excludes the idea of beauty is a subjective state of mind or emotion. The word beauty therefore signifies something purely physical. When considered art, however, the definition of beauty turns into an aesthetic judgement of how a work makes an aesthetic impression to the viewer. This idea of beauty is often connected with notions of proportion, harmony and form, which are considered to be essential characteristics of artistic creation.
Beauty is also considered to be purely subjective, a matter of preference for each individual to value as desirable or unattractive. However, in aesthetic judgement, beauty is usually associated with aspects of visual language, such as colors, lines, and shapes. Some aestheticians view beauty as an unconscious, indeterminable aspect of reality, but it is largely up to the beauty-consciousness of the beholder to decide whether or not a work of art fits into this idea of beauty. Most people, when asked what they consider to be beauty, will answer that which they consider to be beauty is largely a matter of personal preference.
Beauty, therefore, is a very broad term that encompasses a wide range of different and often unrecognizable, attributes of a thing. It is a highly contested question, one that has been argued by philosophers since the days of Socrates. One school of thought maintains that beauty is a pure, objective quality, independent of all other aspects of the external world, whereas others argue that beauty is a complex, ever changing, qualitative entity that is determined by the beholder. Beauty is said to be a property of the human mind, an aesthetic judgment influenced by the emotional response that the object of sight evokes within the individual. A third group of philosophers who reject the possibility of beauty claim that beauty is subjective, dependent upon an individual’s personal reaction to a presented object, and therefore completely indeterminable.
Because beauty, like other things that are taken on to be desirable, can be subjective, some have argued that beauty depends on the individual’s own perception of beauty and the emotional response which it evokes. If beauty is subjective then the beholder has a great deal of power in determining how much, if anything, is considered beautiful. This has motivated the development of many different beauty therapies, from facials to teeth whitening, in an effort to access the subjective experience of beauty for the individual.