Romanesque architecture Essay
Aesthetics (also spelled ? sthetics) is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty, and taste, with the creation and appreciation of beauty.  It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste.  More broadly, scholars in the field define aesthetics as “critical reflection on art, culture and nature.
“ More specific aesthetic theory, often with practical implications, relating to a particular branch of the arts is divided into areas of aesthetics such as art theory, literary theory, film theory and music theory Surviving medieval art is primarily religious in focus and funded largely by the State, Roman Catholic or Orthodox church, powerful ecclesiastical individuals, or wealthy secular patrons.
These art pieces often served a liturgical function, whether as chalices or even as church buildings themselves. Objects of fine art from this period were frequently made from rare and valuable materials, such as gold and lapis, the cost of which commonly exceeded the wages of the artist. Medieval aesthetics in the realm of philosophy built upon Classical thought, continuing the practice of Plotinus by employing theological terminology in its explications. St.
Bonaventure’s “Retracing the Arts to Theology”, a primary example of this method, discusses the skills of the artisan as gifts given by God for the purpose of disclosing God to mankind, which purpose is achieved through four lights: the light of skill in mechanical arts which discloses the world of artifacts; which light is guided by the light of sense perception which discloses the world of natural forms; which light, consequently, is guided by the light of philosophy which discloses the world of intellectual truth; finally, this light is guided by the light of divine wisdom which discloses the world of saving truth.
Saint Thomas Aquinas’s aesthetic is probably the most famous and influential theory among medieval authors, having been the subject of much scrutiny in the wake of the neo-Scholastic revival of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and even having received the approbation of the celebrated Modernist writer, James Joyce. Thomas, like many other medievals, never gives a systematic account of beauty itself, but several scholars have conventionally arranged his thought—though not always with uniform conclusions—using relevant observations spanning the entire corpus of his work.
While Aquinas’s theory follows generally the model of Aristotle, he develops a singular aesthetics which incorporates elements unique to his thought. Umberto Eco’s The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas identifies the three main characteristics of beauty in Aquinas’s philosophy: integritas sive perfectio, consonantia sive debita proportio, and claritas sive splendor formae. While Aristotle likewise identifies the first two characteristics, St. Thomas conceives of the third as an appropriation from principles developed by neo-Platonic and Augustinian thinkers.
With the shift from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, art likewise changed its focus, as much in its content as in its mode of expression. Modern aesthetics From the late 17th to the early 20th century Western aesthetics underwent a slow revolution into what is often called modernism. German and British thinkers emphasised beauty as the key component of art and of the aesthetic experience, and saw art as necessarily aiming at absolute beauty.
For Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten aesthetics is the science of the sense experiences, a younger sister of logic, and beauty is thus the most perfect kind of knowledge that sense experience can have. For Immanuel Kant the aesthetic experience of beauty is a judgment of a subjective but similar human truth, since all people should agree that “this rose is beautiful” if it in fact is. However, beauty cannot be reduced to any more basic set of features. For Friedrich Schiller aesthetic appreciation of beauty is the most perfect reconciliation of the sensual and rational parts of human nature.
For Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, the philosophy of art is the “organon” of philosophy concerning the relation between man and nature. So aesthetics began now to be the name for the philosophy of art. Friedrich von Schlegel, August Wilhelm Schlegel, Friedrich Schleiermacher and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel have also given lectures on aesthetics as philosophy of art after 1800. For Hegel all culture is a matter of “absolute spirit” coming to be manifest to itself, stage by stage, changing to a perfection that only philosophy can approach.
Art is the first stage in which the absolute spirit is manifest immediately to sense-perception, and is thus an objective rather than subjective revelation of beauty. For Arthur Schopenhauer aesthetic contemplation of beauty is the most free that the pure intellect can be from the dictates of will; here we contemplate perfection of form without any kind of worldly agenda, and thus any intrusion of utility or politics would ruin the point of the beauty. It is thus for Schopenhauer one way to fight the suffering.
The British were largely divided into intuitionist and analytic camps. The intuitionists believed that aesthetic experience was disclosed by a single mental faculty of some kind. For Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury this was identical to the moral sense, beauty just is the sensory version of moral goodness. For Ludwig Wittgenstein aesthetics consisted in the description of a whole culture which is a linguistic impossibility. That which constitutes aesthetics lies out side the realm of the language game.
For Oscar Wilde the contemplation of beauty for beauty’s sake, augmented by John Ruskin’s search for moral grounding, was not only the foundation for much of his literary career but was quoted as saying “Aestheticism is a search after the signs of the beautiful. It is the science of the beautiful through which men seek the correlation of the arts. It is, to speak more exactly, the search after the secret of life. “.  Wilde famously toured the United States in 1882. He travelled across the United States spreading the idea of Aesthetics in a speech called “The English Renaissance.
” In his speech he proposed that Beauty and Aesthetics was “not languid but energetic. By beautifying the outward aspects of life, one would beautify the inner ones. ” The English Renaissance was, he said, “like the Italian Renaissance before it, a sort of rebirth of the spirit of man”.  For Francis Hutcheson beauty is disclosed by an inner mental sense, but is a subjective fact rather than an objective one. Analytic theorists like Henry Home, Lord Kames, William Hogarth, and Edmund Burke hoped to reduce beauty to some list of attributes.
Hogarth, for example, thinks that beauty consists of (1) fitness of the parts to some design; (2) variety in as many ways as possible; (3) uniformity, regularity or symmetry, which is only beautiful when it helps to preserve the character of fitness; (4) simplicity or distinctness, which gives pleasure not in itself, but through its enabling the eye to enjoy variety with ease; (5) intricacy, which provides employment for our active energies, leading the eye on “a wanton kind of chase”; and (6) quantity or magnitude, which draws our attention and produces admiration and awe.
Later analytic aestheticians strove to link beauty to some scientific theory of psychology (such as James Mill) or biology (such as Herbert Spencer). Post-modern aesthetics and psychoanalysis Early-twentieth-century artists, poets and composers challenged existing notions of beauty, broadening the scope of art and aesthetics. In 1941, Eli Siegel, American philosopher and poet, founded Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy that reality itself is aesthetic, and that “The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites.
“ Various attempts have been made to define Post-modern aesthetics. The challenge to the assumption that beauty was central to art and aesthetics, thought to be original, is actually continuous with older aesthetic theory; Aristotle was the first in the Western tradition to classify “beauty” into types as in his theory of drama, and Kant made a distinction between beauty and the sublime. What was new was a refusal to credit the higher status of certain types, where the taxonomy implied a preference for tragedy and the sublime to comedy and the Rococo.
Croce suggested that “expression” is central in the way that beauty was once thought to be central. George Dickie suggested that the sociological institutions of the art world were the glue binding art and sensibility into unities.  Marshall McLuhan suggested that art always functions as a “counter-environment” designed to make visible what is usually invisible about a society. [page needed] Theodor Adorno felt that aesthetics could not proceed without confronting the role of the culture industry in the commodification of art and aesthetic experience.
Hal Foster attempted to portray the reaction against beauty and Modernist art in The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Arthur Danto has described this reaction as “kalliphobia” (after the Greek word for beauty – ‘kalos’).  Andre Malraux explains that the notion of beauty was connected to a particular conception of art that arose with the Renaissance and was still dominant in the eighteenth century (but was supplanted later). The discipline of aesthetics, which originated in the eighteenth century, mistook this transient state of affairs for a revelation of the permanent nature of art.
 Brian Massumi suggests to reconsider beauty following the aesthetical thought in the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari.  Daniel Berlyne created the field of experimental aesthetics in the 1970s, for which he is still the most cited individual decades after his death.  Pneumaist aestheticism is a theory of art and a highly experimental approach to art negating historical preconceptions of the aesthetic. Jean-Francois Lyotard re-invokes the Kantian distinction between taste and the sublime. Sublime painting, unlike kitsch realism, “…
will enable us to see only by making it impossible to see; it will please only by causing pain. “ Sigmund Freud inaugurated aesthetical thinking in Psychoanalysis mainly via the “Uncanny” as aesthetical affect.  Following Freud and Merleau-Ponty, Jacques Lacan theorized aesthetics in terms of sublimation and the Thing Guy Sircello pioneered efforts in analytic philosophy to develop a rigorous theory of aesthetics, focusing on the concepts of beauty, love and sublimity.  In contrast to romantic theorists Sircello argued for the objectivity of beauty and formulated a theory of love on that basis.
Evolutionary aesthetics Main article: Evolutionary aesthetics Evolutionary aesthetics refers to evolutionary psychology theories in which the basic aesthetic preferences of Homo sapiens are argued to have evolved in order to enhance survival and reproductive success. One example being that humans are argued to find beautiful and prefer landscapes which were good habitats in the ancestral environment. Another example is that body symmetry is an important aspect of physical attractiveness which may be due to this indicating good health during body growth.
Evolutionary explanations for aesthetical preferences are important parts of evolutionary musicology, Darwinian literary studies, and the study of the evolution of emotion. Aesthetic ethics Aesthetic ethics refers to the idea that human conduct and behaviour ought to be governed by that which is beautiful and attractive. John Dewey has pointed out that the unity of aesthetics and ethics is in fact reflected in our understanding of behaviour being “fair” – the word having a double meaning of attractive and morally acceptable.
More recently, James Page has suggested that aesthetic ethics might be taken to form a philosophical rationale for peace education. Truth as beauty, mathematics, analytic philosophy, and physics Mathematical considerations, such as symmetry and complexity, are used for analysis in theoretical aesthetics. This is different from the aesthetic considerations of applied aesthetics used in the study of mathematical beauty. Aesthetic considerations such as symmetry and simplicity are used in areas of philosophy, such as ethics and theoretical physics and cosmology to define truth, outside of empirical considerations.
Beauty and Truth have been argued to be nearly synonymous, as reflected in the statement “Beauty is truth, truth beauty” in the poem Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats. The fact that judgments of beauty and judgments of truth both are influenced by processing fluency, which is the ease with which information can be processed, has been presented as an explanation for why beauty is sometimes equated with truth.  Indeed, recent research found that people use beauty as an indication for truth in mathematical pattern tasks.  .
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 3 June 2017
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