Beauty is defined as the perception of beauty, which can be visual or subjective. Aesthetics studies the aesthetic qualities of things. Beauty is most commonly defined as the aesthetic feature of particular objects which makes these objects pleasant to see. These objects include sunsets, nature, humans and creative works of art. Beauty, along with personal taste and aesthetic appreciation, is the most significant theme of aesthetics, among the major fields of philosophy.
The field of aesthetics has been defined as “a system of thought dealing with the beautification of the world and human beings.” According to the Trends in Classification of Arts, Beauty encompasses “the whole range of aesthetic values which can be regarded as a personal and individual valuation of things as a whole.” In other words, beauty encompasses all of the traditional definitions of art, including visual beauty, audible beauty, touch beauty and value appreciation.
For the purposes of this article we will be defining beauty according to our personal preferences and personal experiences. We will not be comparing actual beauty with our personal notions of beauty. Aesthetics is subjective; it is determined largely by personal opinion. This is why most definition of beauty remains subjective until someone sees a beautiful work of art and declares it to be beautiful themselves.
Visual art such as paintings, sculpture and photographic images are the easiest to judge beauty in. Paintings and sculptures cannot be argued as to their beauty, whereas an image, for example, that is posted on the web is considered art due to its multimedia component. What about books? They are considered art because many people consider the process of reading to be an aesthetic experience.
Defining art has become a popular academic activity. Theories regarding beauty are currently being investigated by a variety of disciplines. For example, some schools of thought consider the works of Van Gogh to be the basis for modern art, while others compare Picasso’s use of color and form to that of Cubism. Other theories compare different forms of media to represent different aspects of the artistic experience. These include digital art, performance art, and other types of art that do not necessarily relate to the aesthetics.
Beauty is subjective to the person viewing the work. Therefore, it can only be objectively measured by another criterion – a physical parameter. This criterion is beauty per se, which is a universal standard that can be objectively measured. For instance, when a person stands beside a painting they would have to measure things like the depth of color or the luminance of the painting itself. This type of measurement, beauty per se, gives a universal definition to the aesthetic experience.