A Definition of Beauty
Beauty is defined as a subjective quality of things which makes these things pleasurable to see. Such things as beautiful sunsets, landscapes, people and works of artwork are the focus of aesthetic beauty, one of the most important branches of visual philosophy. The word beauty itself comes from the Latin word ‘Beautus’ which means beauty or the most beautiful. It can also mean the most beautiful thing in the world.
The twentieth century brought a new turn in the study of beauty, with the birth of a new school of philosophers who viewed beauty through a more subjective and objective light. As a result beauty became a more individual concept, a concept which was firstly confined to a few specific objects. These objects were chosen on the basis of how they pleased the person viewing them. Over time this conception started to change, with the rise of a new idealist philosophy, that finding beauty in all things, including ourselves. This movement became closely associated with surrealism and early surrealist artists.
Beauty has become something which transcends the barriers of gender, race and class. It is now seen to be a universal quality, an abstract quality, which is the result of the interaction between our minds and bodies. We view beautiful objects and beautiful people as having equal status, as being inherently alike. What once was seen as beauty has now been defined as a personal preference, something which we may choose for ourselves and which may vary from person to person.
Modern beauty – especially contemporary beauty – is largely influenced by our society and culture. This definition of beauty can change drastically in a matter of a few sentences, as our cultural views of beauty have grown and changed dramatically over the last century. The definition given below is the commonest and most used definition of beauty used by most people today.
A definition of beauty which is handed down through generations is that which defines beauty – a particular standard by which we measure the worth and value of an individual. Beauty is thought of as being subjective and personal, and is independent of the thoughts or emotions of another. For example, beauty may be based on physical appearance, but not be related to an individual’s personality, or inner life. Beauty therefore is a highly individual concept, and the definition of beauty varies between cultures and societies.
The idea that beauty exists independently of an individual has been central to beauty standards since the beginning of the world. In the past, beauty has often been judged according to how one is dressed, but in present times beauty is often found in the way an object makes an individual feel, rather than solely on how it looks. Beauty is therefore a subjective concept, and beauty standards can vary greatly from one culture and society to the next. Beauty therefore is a very individual concept, and beauty standards may vary greatly between cultures and societies. Modern beauty therefore is subjective to a great extent – and a definition of beauty varies widely between cultures and societies.