You know by now that I’m not planning a thorough theoretical study of beauty, my intention is rather to take a stroll into the maze – hoping for a glimpse of beauty, expecting nothing. I’m a vagabond, preferring to get lost.
But, obviously, my way might not be the only way … (!), there is a long tradition of studies on beauty to consider:
The nature of beauty is one of the most enduring and controversial themes in Western philosophy, and is—with the nature of art—one of the two fundamental issues in philosophical aesthetics. Beauty has traditionally been counted among the ultimate values, with goodness, truth, and justice. It is a primary theme among ancient Greek, Hellenistic, and medieval philosophers, and was central to 18th and 19th-century thought, as represented in treatments by such thinkers as Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Hume, Burke, Kant; Hegel, Schopenhauer, Hanslick, and Santayana. By the beginning of the twentieth century, beauty was in decline as a subject of philosophical inquiry, and also as a primary goal of the arts. However, the last decade has seen a revival of interest in the subject.
Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Hume, Burke, Kant; Hegel, Schopenhauer, Hanslick, and Santayana; obviously all very clever guys (NB: wasn’t there ever a female philosopher studying beauty?!). Wise men well worth considering; but I’m afraid mimicking someone else’s reflections is not what I’m after. Listening to Kant (some will say) is very interesting, but I’m not sure if studying philosophy is the perfect way to beauty. I’ve come to believe one really has to see for oneself –
Luis Buñel, Salvador Dalí: Un chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog), 1929
– eyes wide open …