Beauty is often defined as a subjective feature of certain objects which makes these objects enjoyable to perceive. Such objects could be sunsets, landscapes, humans and other artistic works of art. Beauty, along with beauty, is the most important subject of aesthetics, one of today’s major branches of art history. In recent times, however, beauty has been associated with a wide variety of other meanings. These meanings have become increasingly relevant as people’s preferences in art products, fashion accessories, interior design, and social attitudes toward beauty change. Some other related definitions are social significance, affect, and ideology.
In many societies, beauty is equated with virtue and intellect. It is also seen as a distillation of the values of the societal moral code. Beauty then, is considered to be a basic and almost primary constituent of human nature. Most artists and critics believe that beauty is primarily an aesthetic value, determined by personal opinion of beauty. But there are also some philosophers who think that beauty is a subjective value that depends on the individual’s point of view and personal reaction to beauty.
Most of the definitions of beauty highlight the idea of beauty as an object. They also assume that beauty is a conscious experience, a mental state generated by the emotions of the beholder. The beauty of a painting for instance, does not depend on the appreciation of its aesthetic elements, but on the emotions of the viewer. This line of thinking has a number of difficulties. For starters, if the beauty of a painting is evaluated in terms of how it affects the beholder, the definition of beauty loses its subjective quality.
Beauty is often considered to be the essential characteristic of all aesthetic objects. For example, a particular glass vase can be considered to be beautiful because it has certain definite qualities such as being airy and light, or being large and smooth. But the vase is itself considered to be beauty, regardless of its qualities. We could say that all vases are beauty, since there is no generic quality that characterizes them.
Many philosophers think that beauty and pleasure are different concepts. The critical theories of beauty, however, consider beauty to be the essential characteristic of aesthetic experience. According to this theory, beauty and pleasure are the polar opposites of theoretical necessity. Aesthetic necessity is defined by the fact that the experience of pleasure is defined by an emotional response that gives pleasure to the beholder, while an aesthetic experience is defined by the satisfaction of a particular need or desire. In other words, beauty is defined by pleasure in addition to other factors such as truth and utility.
There are some who deny the existence of beauty altogether. They argue that beauty is nothing more than a subjective state, and thus there is no such thing as beauty. But just like other states of mind, beauty can also be studied scientifically by studying the responses of those who do experience beauty. Whether something is beautiful depends on the individual who experiences it, and in most cases what the beholder decides to see as beautiful depends entirely on their own subjective opinion.