The spirit of our times seems not to value beauty.
Prince Charles was talking to the Royal Institute of British Architects on the occasion of his 150 anniversary on the proposed extension of the National Gallery.
“What is proposed is like a monstrous carbunction on the face of a very dear and elegant friend.” (Prince of Wales)
He had seen a lot of British architecture as a sterile and simple ugly.
Is this still true? And do we need to discover beauty around us?
Definition of beauty
When we see something beautiful, its beauty feels subjectively. However, the concept of beauty and ugliness is elusive and difficult to put in words and define. Perhaps this is due to individual differences in our appreciation of it. Beauty is in the viewer’s eye. What a person finds beautiful, another simply sentimental. One, attractive, another repulsive.
It has been said that beauty has something to appreciate harmony, balance, rhythm. Capture our attention, satisfying and lifting the mind.
It is not the objects represented by art that defines whether something is beautiful or ugly. Instead, it is how the object that makes it possibly inspiring is treated.
The spiritual philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg suggests that what awakens our feeling that a human face is beautiful is not the face itself, but the affection that shines from it. It is the spiritual within how natural our conditions agitates, not natural by itself.
“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the affectionate who gives lovingly; the passion she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the years that pass” (Audrey Hepburn)
Beauty can also happen even in suffering.
“Even in some of the most painful moments I have witnessed as a doctor, I find a feeling of beauty â¦ that our brains are connected to record the pain of another person, wanting to be moved and do something about it, is deeply encouraging.” (Doctor-Poeta Rafael Campo)
Roger Scruton, a philosopher, points out that between 1750 and 1930 the objective of art or music was beauty. People saw beauty as valuable as truth and goodness. Then, in the twentieth century, it ceased to be important. Then, many artists aimed to bother, shock and break the moral taboos. The first one was Marcel Duchamp, p. its installation of a urinary. It was not beauty, but originality and irony and other intellectual ideas on which they focused. This is what the awards won regardless of moral cost.
The art world now believes that those who seek beauty in art are beyond contact with modern realities. As the world is disturbing, art should also be disturbing. However, it would suggest that what is shocking for the first time is little inspiring and hollow when repeated.
“If the world is so ugly, what is the point to make it even more ugly with ugly music? â¦ I have tried to make it look as beautiful as possible. Otherwise, what is the point â¦ so â¦ That if you want to listen to how ugly, the modern world is, â¦ you can turn on television and listen to the news. But I think most people are going to concerts because they want to listen . Music that speaks to the heart. Music that wants to make you want to smile, cry or dance. (Alma Deutscher, violinist/12 -year concert pianist)
If there are still artists who create beautiful objects of art, I suspect that, like any good news in the newspapers, the headlines are not obtaining.
Waking the spiritual
In addition to much of our contemporary art and built environment, can we also detect an unpleasant inexpression, not to mention egocentrism and offensive, which now reaches the language and manners that are shown in our media? As if beauty there was no real place in our lives.
So, when we are in the negativity soup, do we take time to be open to beauty?
“What is this life if, full of care?
We don’t have time to stop and look â¦
There is no time to turn to beauty,
And look at his feet, how they can dance.
There is no time to wait until your mouth can
Enriching that smile began his eyes.
A poor life this yes, full of care,
We don’t have time to stop and look. (William Henry Davies)
Effect on us of cultural change
I wonder if at losing beauty we are also losing something else. Something that would describe as a deeper perception of what is good and innocent in life.
Scruton suggests that living without this deepest perception is like living in a spiritual desert.