Weekly Photo Challenge – Face – ep. 2

Philosophical banter

In the first post that I wrote in reponse to this weeks WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge topic of Face, I mentioned the ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, whose famous bust has often been referred to as the pinnacle of beauty.  On this lovely Sunday, let’s ask ourselves: What is beauty?

Nefertiti_bust_(right)
Nefertiti

Beauty is a characteristic of an animal, idea, object, person or place that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure of satisfaction. The experience of “beauty” often involves an interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony with nature, which may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being. Because this can be a subjective experience, it is often said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

There is evidence that perceptions of beauty are evolutionarily determined, that things, aspects of people and landscapes considered beautiful are typically found in situations likely to give enhanced survival of the perceiving human’s genes. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics, culture, social psychology and sociology. An “ideal beauty” is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection.

The experience of “beauty” often involves an interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony with nature, which may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being. Because this can be a subjective  experience, it is often said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

There is evidence that perceptions of beauty are evolutionarily determined, that things, aspects of people and landscapes considered beautiful are typically found in situations likely to give enhanced survival of the perceiving human’s genes.

Bianca-Babine_MG_10186
Bianca

 

The earliest Western theory of beauty can be found in the works of early Greek philosophers from the pre-Socratic period, such as Pythagoras. The Pythagorean school saw a strong connection between mathematics and beauty. In particular, they noted that objects proportioned according to the golden ratio seemed more attractive. Ancient Greek architecture is based on this view of symmetry and proportion.

Plato considered beauty to be the Idea (Form) above all other Ideas. Aristotle saw a relationship between the beautiful (to kalon) and virtue, arguing that “Virtue aims at the beautiful.”

Classical philosophy and sculptures of men and women produced according to the Greek philosophers’ tenets of ideal human beauty were rediscovered in Renaissance Europe, leading to a re-adoption of what became known as a “classical ideal”. In terms of female human beauty, a woman whose appearance  conforms to these tenets is still called a “classical beauty” or said to possess a “classical beauty”, whilst the foundations laid by Greek and Roman artists have also supplied the standard for male beauty in western civilization. During the Gothic era, the classical aesthetical canon of beauty was rejected as sinful.

Later, the Renaissance and Humanism rejected this view, and considered beauty as a product of rational order and harmony of proportions. Renaissance artists and architect (such as Giorgio Vasari in his “lives of artists”) criticised the Gothic period as irrational and barbarian. This point of view over Gothic art lasted until Romanticism, in the 19th century.

Philosophy is interesting, but, of course, all of us know that there is more to life than the pursuit of beauty, unless one talks about inner beauty that radiates from a person.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Inspired by the Daily Post WPC – Face