An Extended Definition of Beauty Essay

An Extended Definition of Beauty Essay

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The subjective element of beauty involves judgment, not opinion. Many people feel beauty is only something seen by the eyes. St. Thomas Aquinas views beauty in both the supernatural and natural orders. Aquinas lists the attributes of beauty to be found in nature. These are; unity, proportion, and clarity. We will see how these attributes of beauty are seen through the eye and felt by the heart.
To begin, the concept of unity follows the Aristotelian proposition that nothing can be added to or taken away from a perfect work of art. Next, proportion, or the harmony of the parts to the whole and to each other is, based the mathematical and geometric relationships discovered by the Ancient Greeks. Finally, clarity refers to the logical quality of design, as well as the luminosity of coloration. Therefore, St. Thomas explains that beauty is intimately tied to knowledge, and that we form our judgments according to what pleases us.
As stated by ‘The Duchess’, Margaret Wolfe Hungerford’s famous quote “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” As a result, beauty can describe as an inspiring view present in everything that can be seen. To begin, beauty can be viewed in a building as large and extravagant as the white house to the small hometown market or even in the sight of a single flower to a field filled with a million flowers. Also, beauty can be seen in the sunrise over the peaks of the mountains and also in the sunset glowing across a calm lake surrounded by the bright colors of the fall trees. Furthermore, people have physical beauty, which can be found in a person’s features, figure, or complexion. In the poem “Beauty & Dress” by Robert Herrick he explains the beauty he sees in his wife. Herrick states,
My Love in her attire do...


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...o. "St. Thomas Aquinas: On Beauty." Jho Weeh's World. Ed. Blogger. N.p., 18 Jan. 2010. Web. 20 Mar. 2014. .

Cal Jung, Man and his Symbols (NY: Doubleday, 1964) Part 4 by Aniele Jaffe, esp. p. 264
The Spiritual in Art : Abstract Painting 1895 – 1985 (New York: Los Angeles County Museum of Art/Abbeville Press, 1985)
Tom Wolfe, The Painted Word (NY: Bantam, 1965) Chapters 4, 5
Philosophies of Art and Beauty Edited by Hofstadter and Kuhns, (Chicago: University of Chicago press, 1976) chapters one and two for an overview of the aesthetics of Plato and Aristotle.
Alain Besançon, The Forbidden Image (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000) Chapter six, for a resume of the aesthetics of Kant and Hegel.
Glen Magee, Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition (Cornel University Press, 2001)

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