Beauty is often defined as a subjective feature of certain objects, which makes these objects enjoyable to see. Such objects could be sunsets, landscapes, beautiful humans and creative works of art. Beauty, along with beauty, is perhaps the most important theme of aesthetics, another of the many branches of modern philosophy. Modern aestheticians, who are usually referred to as the aesthetic school, disagree on the exact definition of beauty, though most agree on the notion that beauty exists independent of humans.
Most people agree that beauty includes the ability to delight in the aesthetic qualities of things. Aesthetics affects the way we think, act and feel. Aesthetics also affects how we judge the objects of our aesthetic sense, whether these are physical things or people. We have all had occasions where we found ourselves disagreeing with the object of our aesthetic taste.
Many philosophers and aestheticians attempt to define beauty, but most agree on two main points: aesthetic beauty is the beauty that exists independently of human opinions and aesthetic beauty is beauty created by people. This last point is particularly important today, when beauty has been used to manipulate people. In advertising campaigns, beauty is associated with wealth, sexiness and power; this beauty is then exploited by those who wish to control people.
Aesthetics, however, goes much deeper than defining beauty objectively. It touches the very essence of being human and the appreciation of beauty in all its forms. Aesthetics touch the soul and actually inspires the soul to create beauty, though not all artists and aestheticians believe in this. Only those who have a vision and the courage to express it can say that beauty truly exists.
The most common definition of beauty found in art is beauty, as perceived by the average person. This is an important distinction since there are many forms of beauty and art that can be perceived by the average person. For example, music is beauty to many, while art is beauty to those who appreciate its abstract nature. Beauty and art do not exist in a vacuum of pure objective truth, but exist in the context of culture and society.
The philosophy of beauty can be traced back to the earliest of ages in ancient Greece and Rome. Aristotle argued that beauty was a natural and personal quality, and that it depended upon the individual’s personal sense of aesthetics. Other philosophers like Seneca (the younger) disagreed with Aristotle’s theories, and sought to define beauty more scientifically. The importance of beauty to individuals has only increased as modern civilization has developed technologically, and as people have begun to feel increasingly self-conscious about their appearance. Aesthetics, philosophy and psychology all play an important role in the beauty and understanding of beauty in art.