History of Beauty
What is beauty? Beauty is most commonly defined as the aesthetic quality of specific objects that makes those objects pleasant to see. These objects can be nature, art, humans, landscapes and other works of art. Beauty, along with beauty, is the very basis of aesthetics, one the major branches of modern philosophy. If aesthetics is studied in depth one can find beauty in all the aspects of life.
The word “girana” in Greek translates to “serene.” This quality of beauty found in all things that are created by God, makes everything beautiful, in some shape or form. One of the most difficult definitions of beauty, according to many art historians, is a combination of two words; “girana” which means calm and “aesthetic” which means beauty. An object’s state of being a “serene beauty” is determined not only by the human observer but by the giver of that vision, the artist. For instance, a work of art may be considered beautiful if it contains deepness and mystery, if it inspires the feeling of hope, or if it reveals a grain that has been missed by the naked eye. The serenity and mystery inherent in objects, their properties and the interrelations between those properties lead an artist to call his work a “serene beauty.”
Aesthetics study not only the aesthetic qualities of an object, but also the psychological and emotional aspects that contribute to its being beautiful. Aesthetics studies also the relationship between beauty and personal identity, or self worth. To get someone to see themselves as beautiful, an artist will typically make their subject feel comfortable with their inner beauty, whatever that may be. The more one feels comfortable with their inner beauty, the more likely they are to want to exude it to others. An artist will most likely spend time making their subject feel comfortable, making sure they are not stressed out over being seen as beautiful.
Some people have very difficult relationships with their appearance. Other people don’t even like their physical appearance; they would be horrified at the idea of anyone else looking at them. For these people, beauty is not merely appearance. People with such a personality disorder often need to constantly cover themselves or feel uncomfortable because they are unable to face the world. Their distorted sense of beauty makes it difficult for them to even look at other people; they may be afraid to enter public places because they feel that everyone is staring at them.
This distorted image of beauty is a self-defeating spiral. If an individual feels so ugly that they must cover themselves, they become stressed, less happy and more stressed, until their emotional health deteriorates. People who cover themselves with cosmetics and other “beauty aids” eventually become unhappy and depressed, and their sense of beauty begins to decline even further. This downward spiral of low self-esteem and low self-confidence breeds a vicious cycle that needs to be broken. It’s important to understand that inner beauty is much more valuable than outer beauty.
A major breakthrough for this field was the introduction of makeup. Women in the Victorian era primarily wore powder on their faces to hide wrinkles, rather than makeup, which is suppose to improve one’s face. After a certain age, however, the faces of most women begin to show signs of aging, and their makeup does little to combat this. Many of the “victims of beauty” of Victorian times began to cover their faces with makeup, believing that they were prettier that way. As a result, they began to suffer in mental and emotional health, while their inner beauty deteriorated. Today, the term “makeup” conjures up images of horrid plastic surgeries, but its true beauty lies in the careful blending of natural materials.