Beauty is a subjective experience that connects the observer with objects. In the modern era, the concept of beauty was subject to a variety of criticisms, from moral to economic. The idea of beauty was central to commerce and the arts, but also became an object of direct destruction and political critique. In the late twentieth century, there was a renewed interest in the idea of beauty. It was partly motivated by the work of art critic Dave Hickey and feminist-oriented reconstruals of the concept of beauty.
While early thinking about beauty was concerned with understanding the concept and quantifying its meaning, the 19th century marked a decisive shift. During this period, the concepts of inalienable rights, confidence in human capability and burgeoning cultures of feeling emerged. As a result, a growing number of thinkers tried to reexamine the definition and understanding of beauty.
As a unified theory of beauty, Aquinas’ explanation satisfies the criteria for a unified theory of beauty. It explains how form and function can be simultaneous, and allows the existence of beauty in the physical world.
The classical conception of beauty, which consists of the arrangement of integral parts into a coherent whole, is reflected in classical architecture, music and literature. It is also embodied in the golden ratio, a Fibonacci sequence. In the same way, an object’s color can vary at different times of day, while a line can be divided into two unequal parts and still be considered beautiful.
Aquinas’ account of beauty is empirically based. As the author explains, a human being is born with an implicit understanding of the ideas of beauty and its other terms. It is also important to remember that humans are immortal souls. So every human being experiences beauty at some point in his or her life, and he or she will always continue to recognize these concepts.
In contrast to the unified theory of beauty, David Hume’s account of the beautiful is subjective. He argues that beauty is not a quality in things, but rather a combination of qualities. He suggests that individuals have an essential role in creating their own beauty. However, he also argues against tyrannical notions of taste.
Berkeley’s definition of beauty is related to the enjoyment of things. It requires the use of intellection, and the assessment of suitedness and usefulness. The author identifies three conditions, which he considers necessary to make a beauty worthwhile: the knowledge of its use, the suitedness of its use and the pleasure that can be derived from its use.
The 18th-century emergence of the concept of inalienable rights also made the idea of beauty an important aspect of the development of social justice movements. For instance, the slogan, “Black is beautiful,” reflected a critical examination of racial content of beauty norms. After Malcolm X’s death, a systematic and systematic development of the affirmation of black beauty was underway.
The twentieth-century era, with its wars, genocide and wastelands, was a time when many of the traditional theories of beauty were in jeopardy. In the 1990s, feminist-oriented reconstruals of beauty began to appear.