Beauty

Authored by: Rafael De Clercq

The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  April  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782869
eBook ISBN: 9780203813034
Adobe ISBN: 9781136697142

10.4324/9780203813034.ch29

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Abstract

Throughout most of the history of aesthetics, beauty was the property to be studied, and often this property was regarded as consisting in harmony. By the middle of the twentieth century, beauty had become merely one item on a long list of aesthetic properties, along with the sublime, the picturesque, the dainty, the dumpy and countless others. Moreover, at least on the face of it, the evolution of modern art had cast doubt on the intimate relation between harmony and beauty. However, as has been observed by several writers (e.g. Brand 2000; Zangwill 2001; Brown 2010 [1998]) beauty seems to have made a comeback in recent years. The fact that the word “beauty” gures prominently in the titles of recent academic (Sircello 1975; Mothersill 1984; Brand 2000; Zangwill 2001; Danto 2003; McMahon 2007; Nehamas 2007; Parsons and Carlson 2008; Scruton 2009) and nonacademic (Eco 2004; Armstrong 2005) books in aesthetics may be regarded as evidence of beauty's reversal of fortune. It remains to be seen whether beauty's special relation with harmony will be reestablished in the process.

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