In its more technical epistemological perspective, it is defined as the study of subjective and sensori-emotional values, or sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. Aesthetics studies how artists imagine, create and perform works of art; how people use, enjoy, and criticize art; and what happens in their minds when they look at paintings, listen to music, or read poetry, and understand what they see and hear. It also studies how they feel about art—why they like some works and not others, and how art can affect their moods, beliefs, and attitude toward life. The phrase was coined in English in the 18th century.
More broadly, scholars in the field define aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture and nature". In modern English, the term aesthetic can also refer to a set of principles underlying the works of a particular art movement or theory: one speaks, for example, of the Cubist aesthetic.
The word aesthetic is derived from the Greek αἰσθητικός (aisthetikos, meaning "esthetic, sensitive, sentient, pertaining to sense perception"), which in turn was derived from αἰσθάνομαι (aisthanomai, meaning "I perceive, feel, sense" and related to αἴσθησις (aisthēsis, "sensation"). Aesthetics in this central sense has been said to start with the series of articles on “The Pleasures of the Imagination” which the journalist Joseph Addison wrote in the early issues of the magazine The Spectator in 1712. The term "aesthetics" was appropriated and coined with new meaning by the German philosopher Alexander Baumgarten in his dissertation Meditationes philosophicae de nonnullis ad poema pertinentibus ("Philosophical considerations of some matters pertaining the poem") in 1735; Baumgarten chose "aesthetics" because he wished to emphasize the experience of art as a means of knowing. Aesthetics, a not very tidy intellectual discipline, is a heterogeneous collection of problems that concern the arts primarily but also relate to nature. even though his later definition in the fragment Aesthetica (1750) is more often referred to as the first definition of modern aesthetics.
Aesthetics is for the artist as Ornithology is for the birds.
Some separate aesthetics and philosophy of art, claiming that the former is the study of beauty while the latter is the study of works of art. However, most commonly Aesthetics encompasses both questions around beauty as well as questions about art. It examines topics such as aesthetic objects, aesthetic experience, and aesthetic judgments. For some, aesthetics is considered a synonym for the philosophy of art since Hegel, while others insist that there is a significant distinction between these closely related fields. In practice, aesthetic judgement refers to the sensory contemplation or appreciation of an object (not necessarily an art object), while artistic judgement refers to the recognition, appreciation or criticism of art or an art work.
Philosophical aesthetics has not only to speak about art and to produce judgments about art works, but also has to give a definition of what art is. Art is an autonomous entity for philosophy, because art deals with the senses (i.e. the etymology of aesthetics) and art is as such free of any moral or political purpose. Hence, there are two different conceptions of art in aesthetics: art as knowledge or art as action, but aesthetics is neither epistemology nor ethics.
Aestheticians compare historical developments with theoretical approaches to the arts of many periods. They study the varieties of art in relation to their physical, social, and culture environments. Aestheticians also use psychology to understand how people see, hear, imagine, think, learn, and act in relation to the materials and problems of art. Aesthetic psychology studies the creative process and the aesthetic experience.
Aesthetics examines our affective domain response to an object or phenomenon Judgments of aesthetic value rely on our ability to discriminate at a sensory level. However, aesthetic judgments usually go beyond sensory discrimination.
For David Hume, delicacy of taste is not merely "the ability to detect all the ingredients in a composition", but also our sensitivity "to pains as well as pleasures, which escape the rest of mankind." Thus, the sensory discrimination is linked to capacity for pleasure.
For Immanuel Kant (Critique of Judgment, 1790), "enjoyment" is the result when pleasure arises from sensation, but judging something to be "beautiful" has a third requirement: sensation must give rise to pleasure by engaging our capacities of reflective contemplation. Judgments of beauty are sensory, emotional and intellectual all at once. Kant (1790) observed of a man "If he says that canary wine is agreeable he is quite content if someone else corrects his terms and reminds him to say instead: It is agreeable to me," because "Everyone has his own (sense of) taste". The case of "beauty" is different from mere "agreeableness" because, "If he proclaims something to be beautiful, then he requires the same liking from others; he then judges not just for himself but for everyone, and speaks of beauty as if it were a property of things." Roger Scruton has argued similarly.
Viewer interpretations of beauty may on occasion be observed to possess two concepts of value: aesthetics and taste. Aesthetics is the philosophical notion of beauty. Taste is a result of an education process and awareness of elite cultural values learned through exposure to mass culture. Bourdieu examined how the elite in society define the aesthetic values like taste and how varying levels of exposure to these values can result in variations by class, cultural background, and education. According to Kant, beauty is subjective and universal; thus certain things are beautiful to everyone. In the opinion of Władysław Tatarkiewicz, there are six conditions for the presentation of art: beauty, form, representation, reproduction of reality, artistic expression and innovation. However, one may not be able to pin down these qualities in a work of art.
Judgments of aesthetical values seem often to involve many other kinds of issues as well. Responses such as disgust show that sensory detection is linked in instinctual ways to facial expressions, and even behaviours like the gag reflex. Yet disgust can often be a learned or cultural issue too; as Darwin pointed out, seeing a stripe of soup in a man's beard is disgusting even though neither soup nor beards are themselves disgusting. Aesthetic judgments may be linked to emotions or, like emotions, partially embodied in our physical reactions. For example, the awe inspired by a sublime landscape might physically manifest with an increased heart-rate or pupil dilation; physiological reaction may express or even cause the initial awe. As seen, emotions are conformed to 'cultural' reactions, therefore aesthetics is always characterized by 'regional responses', as Francis Grose was the first to affirm in his ‘Rules for Drawing Caricaturas: With an Essay on Comic Painting’ (1788), published in W. Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, Bagster, London s.d. (1791? ), pp. 1–24. Grose can therefore be claimed to be the first critical 'aesthetic regionalist' in proclaiming the anti-universality of aesthetics in contrast to the perilous and always resurgent dictatorship of beauty.
Likewise, aesthetic judgments may be culturally conditioned to some extent. Victorians in Britain often saw African sculpture as ugly, but just a few decades later, Edwardian audiences saw the same sculptures as being beautiful. Evaluations of beauty may well be linked to desirability, perhaps even to sexual desirability. Thus, judgments of aesthetic value can become linked to judgments of economic, political, or moral value. In a current context, one might judge a Lamborghini to be beautiful partly because it is desirable as a status symbol, or we might judge it to be repulsive partly because it signifies for us over-consumption and offends our political or moral values.
Aesthetic judgments can often be very fine-grained and internally contradictory. Likewise aesthetic judgments seem often to be at least partly intellectual and interpretative. It is what a thing means or symbolizes for us that is often what we are judging. Modern aestheticians have asserted that will and desire were almost dormant in aesthetic experience, yet preference and choice have seemed important aesthetics to some 20th-century thinkers. The point is already made by Hume, but see Mary Mothersill, "Beauty and the Critic's Judgment", in The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics, 2004. Thus aesthetic judgments might be seen to be based on the senses, emotions, intellectual opinions, will, desires, culture, preferences, values, subconscious behaviour, conscious decision, training, instinct, sociological institutions, or some complex combination of these, depending on exactly which theory one employs.
A third major topic in the study of aesthetic judgments is how they are unified across art forms. For instance, the source of a painting's beauty has a different character to that of beautiful music, suggesting their aesthetics differ in kind. The distinct inability of language to express aesthetic judgment and the role of Social construction further cloud this issue.
Artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn have indicated that there are too many exceptions to Dutton's categories. For example, Hirschhorn's installations deliberately eschew technical virtuosity. People can appreciate a Renaissance Madonna for aesthetic reasons, but such objects often had (and sometimes still have) specific devotional functions. "Rules of composition" that might be read into Duchamp's Fountain or John Cage's 4′33″ do not locate the works in a recognizable style (or certainly not a style recognizable at the time of the works' realization). Moreover, some of Dutton's categories seem too broad: a physicist might entertain hypothetical worlds in his/her imagination in the course of formulating a theory. Another problem is that Dutton's categories seek to universalize traditional European notions of aesthetics and art forgetting that, as André Malraux and others have pointed out, there have been large numbers of cultures in which such ideas (including the idea "art" itself) were non-existent.
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.
During the first half of the twentieth century, a significant shift to general aesthetic theory took place which attempted to apply aesthetic theory between various forms of art, including the literary arts and the visual arts, to each other. This resulted in the rise of the New Criticism school and debate concerning the intentional fallacy. At issue was the question of whether the aesthetic intentions of the artist in creating the work of art, whatever its specific form, should be associated with the criticism and evaluation of the final product of the work of art, or, if the work of art should be evaluated on its own merits independent of the intentions of the artist.
In 1946, William K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley published a classic and controversial New Critical essay entitled "The Intentional Fallacy", in which they argued strongly against the relevance of an author's intention, or "intended meaning" in the analysis of a literary work. For Wimsatt and Beardsley, the words on the page were all that mattered; importation of meanings from outside the text was considered irrelevant, and potentially distracting.
In another essay, "The Affective Fallacy," which served as a kind of sister essay to "The Intentional Fallacy" Wimsatt and Beardsley also discounted the reader's personal/emotional reaction to a literary work as a valid means of analyzing a text. This fallacy would later be repudiated by theorists from the reader-response school of literary theory. One of the leading theorists from this school, Stanley Fish, was himself trained by New Critics. Fish criticizes Wimsatt and Beardsley in his essay "Literature in the Reader" (1970).
As summarized by Gaut and Livingston in their essay "The Creation of Art": "Structuralist and post-structuralists theorists and critics were sharply critical of many aspects of New Criticism, beginning with the emphasis on aesthetic appreciation and the so-called autonomy of art, but they reiterated the attack on biographical criticisms' assumption that the artist's activities and experience were a privileged critical topic." These authors contend that: "Anti-intentionalists, such as formalists, hold that the intentions involved in the making of art are irrelevant or peripheral to correctly interpreting art. So details of the act of creating a work, though possibly of interest in themselves, have no bearing on the correct interpretation of the work."
Gaut and Livingston define the intentionalists as distinct from formalists stating that: "Intentionalists, unlike formalists, hold that reference to intentions is essential in fixing the correct interpretation of works." They quote Richard Wollheim as stating that, "The task of criticism is the reconstruction of the creative process, where the creative process must in turn be thought of as something not stopping short of, but terminating on, the work of art itself."
A large number of derivative forms of aesthetics have developed as contemporary and transitory forms of inquiry associated with the field of aesthetics which include the post-modern, psychoanalytic, scientific, and mathematical among others.
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. 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, κάλλος kallos). André 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. Walter Benjamin echoed Malraux in believing aesthetics was a comparatively recent invention, a view proven wrong in the late 1970s, when Abraham Moles and Frieder Nake analyzed links between beauty, information processing, and information theory. Denis Dutton in "The Art Instinct" also proposed that an aesthetic sense was a vital evolutionary factor.
Jean-François 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.
The relation of Marxist aesthetics to post-modern aesthetics is still a contentious area of debate.
Guy Sircello has 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.
British philosopher and theorist of conceptual art aesthetics, Peter Osborne, makes the point that "'post-conceptual art' aesthetic does not concern a particular type of contemporary art so much as the historical-ontological condition for the production of contemporary art in general ...". Osborne noted that contemporary art is 'post-conceptual' in a public lecture delivered in 2010.
Gary Tedman has put forward a theory of a subjectless aesthetics derived from Karl Marx's concept of alienation, and Louis Althusser's antihumanism, using elements of Freud's group psychology, defining a concept of the 'aesthetic level of practice'.
Gregory Loewen has suggested that the subject is key in the interaction with the aesthetic object. The work of art serves as a vehicle for the projection of the individual's identity into the world of objects, as well as being the irruptive source of much of what is uncanny in modern life. As well, art is used to memorialize individuated biographies in a manner that allows persons to imagine that they are part of something greater than themselves.
The field of experimental aesthetics was founded by Gustav Theodor Fechner in the 19th century. Experimental aesthetics in these times had been characterized by a subject-based, inductive approach. The analysis of individual experience and behaviour based on experimental methods is a central part of experimental aesthetics. In particular, the perception of works of art, music, or modern items such as websites or other IT products is studied. Experimental aesthetics is strongly oriented towards the natural sciences. Modern approaches mostly come from the fields of cognitive psychology or neuroscience (neuroaesthetics).
In the 1990s, Jürgen Schmidhuber described an algorithmic theory of beauty which takes the subjectivity of the observer into account and postulates: among several observations classified as comparable by a given subjective observer, the aesthetically most pleasing one is the one with the shortest description, given the observer's previous knowledge and his particular method for encoding the data. This is closely related to the principles of algorithmic information theory and minimum description length. One of his examples: mathematicians enjoy simple proofs with a short description in their formal language. Another very concrete example describes an aesthetically pleasing human face whose proportions can be described by very few bits of information, drawing inspiration from less detailed 15th century proportion studies by Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer. Schmidhuber's theory explicitly distinguishes between what's beautiful and what's interesting, stating that interestingness corresponds to the first derivative of subjectively perceived beauty. Here the premise is that any observer continually tries to improve the predictability and compressibility of the observations by discovering regularities such as repetitions and symmetries and fractal self-similarity. Whenever the observer's learning process (which may be a predictive artificial neural network; see also Neuroesthetics) leads to improved data compression such that the observation sequence can be described by fewer bits than before, the temporary interestingness of the data corresponds to the number of saved bits. This compression progress is proportional to the observer's internal reward, also called curiosity reward. A reinforcement learning algorithm is used to maximize future expected reward by learning to execute action sequences that cause additional interesting input data with yet unknown but learnable predictability or regularity. The principles can be implemented on artificial agents which then exhibit a form of artificial curiosity.
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, or by the Hindu motto "Satyam Shivam Sundaram" (Satya (Truth) is Shiva (God), and Shiva is Sundaram (Beautiful)). 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. However, scientists including the mathematician David Orrell and physicist Marcelo Gleiser have argued that the emphasis on aesthetic criteria such as symmetry is equally capable of leading scientists astray.
Since about 2005, computer scientists have attempted to develop automated methods to infer aesthetic quality of images. Typically, these approaches follow a machine learning approach, where large numbers of manually rated photographs are used to "teach" a computer about what visual properties are of relevance to aesthetic quality. The Acquine engine, developed at Penn State University, rates natural photographs uploaded by users.
There have also been relatively successful attempts with regard to chess and music. A relation between Max Bense's mathematical formulation of aesthetics in terms of "redundancy" and "complexity" and theories of musical anticipation was offered using the notion of Information Rate.
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 and proportion are important aspects 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.
As well as being applied to art, aesthetics can also be applied to cultural objects, such as crosses or tools. For example, aesthetic coupling between art-objects and medical topics was made by speakers working for the US Information Agency Art slides were linked to slides of pharmacological data, which improved attention and retention by simultaneous activation of intuitive right brain with rational left. It can also be used in topics as diverse as mathematics, gastronomy, fashion and website design.
The philosophy of aesthetics as a practice has been criticized by some sociologists and writers of art and society. Raymond Williams, for example, argues that there is no unique and or individual aesthetic object which can be extrapolated from the art world, but rather that there is a continuum of cultural forms and experience of which ordinary speech and experiences may signal as art. By "art" we may frame several artistic "works" or "creations" as so though this reference remains within the institution or special event which creates it and this leaves some works or other possible "art" outside of the frame work, or other interpretations such as other phenomenon which may not be considered as "art".
Pierre Bourdieu disagrees with Kant's idea of the "aesthetic". He argues that Kant's "aesthetic" merely represents an experience that is the product of an elevated class habitus and scholarly leisure as opposed to other possible and equally valid "aesthetic" experiences which lay outside Kant's narrow definition.
Timothy Laurie argues that theories of musical aesthetics "framed entirely in terms of appreciation, contemplation or reflection risk idealizing an implausibly unmotivated listener defined solely through musical objects, rather than seeing them as a person for whom complex intentions and motivations produce variable attractions to cultural objects and practices".
Aestheticism (also the Aesthetic Movement) is an intellectual and art movement supporting the emphasis of aesthetic values more than social-political themes for literature, fine art, music and other arts. This meant that art from this particular movement focused more on being beautiful rather than having a deeper meaning — "art for art's sake". It was particularly prominent in Europe during the 19th century, supported by notable figures such as Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde, but contemporary critics are also associated with the movement, such as Harold Bloom, who has recently argued against projecting social and political ideology onto literary works, which he believes has been a growing problem in humanities departments over the 20th century.In the 19th century, it was related to other movements such as symbolism or decadence represented in France, or decadentismo represented in Italy, and may be considered the British version of the same style.Aesthetics of music
Aesthetics of music () is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of art, beauty and taste in music, and with the creation or appreciation of beauty in music. In the pre-modern tradition, the aesthetics of music or musical aesthetics explored the mathematical and cosmological dimensions of rhythmic and harmonic organization. In the eighteenth century, focus shifted to the experience of hearing music, and thus to questions about its beauty and human enjoyment (plaisir and jouissance) of music. The origin of this philosophic shift is sometimes attributed to Baumgarten in the 18th century, followed by Kant. Through their writing, the ancient term aesthetics, meaning sensory perception, received its present-day connotation. In recent decades philosophers have tended to emphasize issues besides beauty and enjoyment. For example, music's capacity to express emotion has been a central issue.
Aesthetics is a sub-discipline of philosophy. In the 20th century, important contributions to the aesthetics of music were made by Peter Kivy, Jerrold Levinson, Roger Scruton, and Stephen Davies. However, many musicians, music critics, and other non-philosophers have contributed to the aesthetics of music. In the 19th century, a significant debate arose between Eduard Hanslick, a music critic and musicologist, and composer Richard Wagner regarding whether instrumental music could communicate emotions to the listener. Wagner and his disciples argued that instrumental music could communicate emotions and images; composers who held this belief wrote instrumental tone poems, which attempted to tell a story or depict a landscape using instrumental music. Hanslick and his partisans asserted that instrumental music is simply patterns of sound that do not communicate any emotions or images.
Since ancient times, it has been thought that music has the ability to affect our emotions, intellect, and psychology; it can assuage our loneliness or incite our passions. The Ancient Greek philosopher Plato suggests in The Republic that music has a direct effect on the soul. Therefore, he proposes that in the ideal regime, music would be closely regulated by the state (Book VII). There has been a strong tendency in the aesthetics of music to emphasize the paramount importance of compositional structure; however, other issues concerning the aesthetics of music include lyricism, harmony, hypnotism, emotiveness, temporal dynamics, resonance, playfulness, and color (see also musical development).Art
Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.
The three classical branches of art are painting, sculpture and architecture. Music, theatre, film, dance, and other performing arts, as well as literature and other media such as interactive media, are included in a broader definition of the arts. Until the 17th century, art referred to any skill or mastery and was not differentiated from crafts or sciences. In modern usage after the 17th century, where aesthetic considerations are paramount, the fine arts are separated and distinguished from acquired skills in general, such as the decorative or applied arts.
Though the definition of what constitutes art is disputed and has changed over time, general descriptions mention an idea of imaginative or technical skill stemming from human agency and creation. The nature of art and related concepts, such as creativity and interpretation, are explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics.Axiology
Axiology (from Greek ἀξία, axia, "value, worth"; and -λογία, -logia) is the philosophical study of value. It is either the collective term for ethics and aesthetics, philosophical fields that depend crucially on notions of worth, or the foundation for these fields, and thus similar to value theory and meta-ethics. The term was first used by Paul Lapie, in 1902, and Eduard von Hartmann, in 1908.Axiology studies mainly two kinds of values: ethics and aesthetics. Ethics investigates the concepts of "right" and "good" in individual and social conduct. Aesthetics studies the concepts of "beauty" and "harmony." Formal axiology, the attempt to lay out principles regarding value with mathematical rigor, is exemplified by Robert S. Hartman's science of value.Camp (style)
Camp is an aesthetic style and sensibility that regards something as appealing because of its bad taste and ironic value. Camp aesthetics disrupt many of modernism's notions of what art is and what can be classified as high art by inverting aesthetic attributes such as beauty, value, and taste through an invitation of a different kind of apprehension and consumption.Camp can also be a social practice. For many it is considered a style and performance identity for several types of entertainment including film, cabaret, and pantomime. Where high art necessarily incorporates beauty and value, camp necessarily needs to be lively, audacious and dynamic. "Camp aesthetics delights in impertinence." Camp opposes satisfaction and seeks to challenge.Camp art is related to—and often confused with—kitsch, and things with camp appeal may also be described as "cheesy". When the usage appeared in 1909, it denoted "ostentatious, exaggerated, affected, theatrical", or "effeminate" behaviour, and by the middle of the 1970s, the definition comprised "banality, mediocrity, artifice, [and] ostentation ... so extreme as to amuse or have a perversely sophisticated appeal". The American writer Susan Sontag's essay "Notes on 'Camp'" (1964) emphasized its key elements as: artifice, frivolity, naïve middle-class pretentiousness, and 'shocking' excess. Camp as an aesthetic has been popular from the 1960s to the present.
Camp aesthetics were popularized by filmmakers George and Mike Kuchar, Jack Smith and his film Flaming Creatures, and later John Waters, including the last's Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, and Polyester. Celebrities that are associated with camp personas include drag queens and performers such as Dame Edna Everage, Divine, RuPaul, Paul Lynde, and Liberace. Camp was a part of the anti-academic defence of popular culture in the 1960s and gained popularity in the 1980s with the widespread adoption of postmodern views on art and culture.Chess aesthetics
Chess aesthetics or beauty in chess is generally appreciated by both players and composers. This is evident, for example, in brilliancy prizes awarded to some games in certain tournaments and also in the world of chess composition. There are many books published featuring chess problems or puzzles that emphasize its aesthetic aspect. One of the earliest is from the 9th century AD. Aesthetics in chess can be both a source of pleasure for humans and also instruction, as compositions or games featuring it typically illustrate original ideas or new instantiations of old ones. A good chess problem composer, however, is not necessarily a good player.
Factors about a game or move sequence (also referred to as a combination) that might cause it to be regarded as 'brilliant' by most players include, among other things: expediency, disguise, sacrifice, correctness, preparation, paradox, unity and originality.
Expediency refers to a move's effectiveness in achieving something tangible, like checkmate or a decisive material gain.
Disguise occurs when a move played (usually the key move) does not expose the solution immediately.
Sacrifice refers to the exchange of a more powerful piece for a weaker one, but can also mean the exchange of other less tangible advantages, like mobility.
Correctness simply means the solution should work against any defense. (A plus but not always possible in real games.)
Preparation means that the aesthetic perceived—say, in a particular tactical combination—was achieved in great part due to the strategic play preceding it.
Paradox refers to the range of things that violate 'good practice' in chess, for example, the deliberate exposure of one's king.
Unity refers to the cooperation between pieces toward the attainment of a specific goal (e.g. checkmate, winning material, controlling more space).
Originality means something the observer has not seen before, and must therefore rely heavily on personal experience.Composition conventions such as not having any checks or captures in the first (i.e. key) move, and the use of variations to illustrate a particular theme (e.g. zugzwang, pin), also play a role in the aesthetics of the game.
Conceptually, a 'common ground' of aesthetics between the domains of real (e.g. tournament) games and compositions can be established. These are beauty characteristics that apply approximately equally to both domains; examples include heuristic violations, economy and material sacrifice. This common ground is useful in computational models of aesthetics in the game because it helps in experiments comparing the beauty of compositions (on average, considered more beautiful) against the beauty of real games (on average, considered less beautiful). Some factors that pertain solely to real games (e.g. pressure under time control) or compositions (e.g. avoidance of castling moves) may be conflated with aesthetics in the game—and perhaps to some degree this is justifiable; however, they would lie outside the common ground described above.Eroticism
Eroticism (from the Greek ἔρως, eros—"desire") is a quality that causes sexual feelings, as well as a philosophical contemplation concerning the aesthetics of sexual desire, sensuality, and romantic love. That quality may be found in any form of artwork, including painting, sculpture, photography, drama, film, music, or literature. It may also be found in advertising. The term may also refer to a state of sexual arousal or anticipation of such – an insistent sexual impulse, desire, or pattern of thoughts.
As French novelist Honoré de Balzac stated, eroticism is dependent not just upon an individual's sexual morality, but also the culture and time in which an individual resides.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.Based on this theory, things like color preference, preferred mate body ratios, shapes, emotional ties with objects, and many other aspects of the aesthetic experience can be explained with reference to human evolution.Feminist aesthetics
Feminist aesthetics first emerged in the 1970's and refers not to a particular aesthetic or style but to perspectives that question assumptions in art and aesthetics concerning sex-role stereotypes, or gender. In particular, feminists argue that despite seeming neutral or inclusive, the way people think about art and aesthetics is influenced by sex roles. Feminist aesthetics is a tool for analyzing how art is understood using gendered issues. A person's gender identity affects the ways in which they perceive art and aesthetics because of their subject position and the fact that perception is influenced by power. The ways in which people see art is also influenced by social values such as class and race. One's subject position in life changes the way art is perceived because of people's different knowledge's about life and experiences. In the way that feminist history unsettles traditional history, feminist aesthetics challenge philosophies of beauty, the arts and sensory experience.Starting in the 18th century, ideas of aesthetic pleasure have tried to define "taste". Kant and Hume both argued that there was universal good taste, which made aesthetic pleasure. A feminist line of logic about these attempts is that, because fine art was a leisure activity at this time, those who could afford to make art or produce supposed universal truths about how it is enjoyed would do so in a way that creates class and sex division. Even when those universal aesthetes did address gender, they categorized aesthetics into two categories: beauty and sublimity; with beauty being small and delicate (feminine) and sublimity being large and awe-inspiring (masculine). Feminist aesthetics analyzes why "feminine" traits are subservient compared to "masculine" traits in art and aesthetics.Another explanation for the male-domination of forming aesthetic theory is that feminists express their aesthetic pleasure differently than non-feminist aesthetes for "whom the pleasure of theorizing [...] is a form of jouissance". Instead, a feminist is less likely to view the object as a disinterested interpreter, and intellectualize the sensation (Hilde Hein). Critics of feminist art argue that politics have no place in art, however, many art forms contain politics, but because of their subject position, the critics are unable to perceive it. The idea of the creative genius is inspected in feminist aesthetics. In particular, women artists are often excluded from being creative or artistic geniuses. This exclusion in part stems from the traditional masculine definitions of genius. Christine Battersby has critiqued the fact that women are excluded from being known as geniuses because female artists will be separated from their art, and instead their art will be called genius, instead of the artist. However, women were also excluded because they lacked the opportunities for artistic education required to be recognized as artists and geniuses. In addition, the idea of the creative genius itself celebrates individualism – which Battersby calls "a kind of masculine heroism" – and overlooks the work of joint collaborations.Aesthetic theories that make a distinction between "arts" and "crafts" can be viewed as anti-feminist. Here, art usually refers to fine art and crafts refers to everything else which has everyday aesthetics. Art forms traditionally used by women, such as embroidery or sewing, are perceived as crafts and not art, because of their domestic uses. Feminist aesthetics focuses on all objects created by women, whether or not they are seen as "art". Since those craft practices occur in the home where many women continue to work, their creativity is overlooked by the perception of "art", because their domain is marginalized.Formalism (art)
In art history, formalism is the study of art by analyzing and comparing form and style. Its discussion also includes the way objects are made and their purely visual or material aspects. In painting, formalism emphasizes compositional elements such as color, line, shape, texture, and other perceptual aspects rather than content, meaning, or the historical and social context. At its extreme, formalism in art history posits that everything necessary to comprehending a work of art is contained within the work of art. The context of the work, including the reason for its creation, the historical background, and the life of the artist, that is, its conceptual aspect is considered to be external to the artistic medium itself, and therefore of secondary importance.Japanese aesthetics
The modern study of Japanese aesthetics only started a little over two hundred years ago in the West. The Japanese aesthetic is a set of ancient ideals that include wabi (transient and stark beauty), sabi (the beauty of natural patina and aging), and yūgen (profound grace and subtlety). These ideals, and others, underpin much of Japanese cultural and aesthetic norms on what is considered tasteful or beautiful. Thus, while seen as a philosophy in Western societies, the concept of aesthetics in Japan is seen as an integral part of daily life. Japanese aesthetics now encompass a variety of ideals; some of these are traditional while others are modern and sometimes influenced by other cultures.Kawaii
Kawaii (かわいい, pronounced [kaɰaiꜜi]; "lovable", "cute", or "adorable") is the culture of cuteness in Japan. It can refer to items, humans and nonhumans that are charming, vulnerable, shy and childlike. Examples include cute handwriting, certain genres of manga, and Hello Kitty.The cuteness culture, or kawaii aesthetic, has become a prominent aspect of Japanese popular culture, entertainment, clothing, food, toys, personal appearance and mannerisms.Kitsch
Kitsch ( KITCH; loanword from German), also called cheesiness or tackiness, is art or other objects that, generally speaking, appeal to popular rather than "high art" tastes. Such objects are sometimes appreciated in a knowingly ironic or humorous way. The word was first applied to artwork that was a response to certain divisions of 19th-century art with aesthetics that favored what later art critics would consider to be exaggerated sentimentality and melodrama. Hence, 'kitsch art' is closely associated with 'sentimental art'. Kitsch is also related to the concept of camp, because of its humorous and ironic nature.
Kitsch art may often contain palatable, pleasant and romantic themes and visuals that few would find disagreeable, shocking or otherwise objectionable; it generally attempts to appeal to the human condition and its natural standards of beauty on a superficial level. It may also be quaint or "quirky" without being controversial.
To brand visual art as "kitsch" is generally (but not exclusively) pejorative, as it implies that the work in question is gaudy, or that it serves a solely ornamental and decorative purpose rather than amounting to a work of what may be seen as true artistic merit. However, art deemed kitsch may be enjoyed in an entirely positive and sincere manner. The term is also sometimes applied to music or literature, or indeed any work.Masterpiece
Masterpiece, magnum opus (Latin, great work) or chef-d’œuvre (French, master of work, plural chefs-d’œuvre) in modern use is a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill, profundity, or workmanship. Historically, a "masterpiece" was a work of a very high standard produced to obtain membership of a guild or academy in various areas of the visual arts and crafts.Mathematical beauty
Mathematical beauty describes the notion that some mathematicians may derive aesthetic pleasure from their work, and from mathematics in general. They express this pleasure by describing mathematics (or, at least, some aspect of mathematics) as beautiful. Mathematicians describe mathematics as an art form or, at a minimum, as a creative activity. Comparisons are often made with music and poetry.
Bertrand Russell expressed his sense of mathematical beauty in these words:
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty—a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry.
Paul Erdős expressed his views on the ineffability of mathematics when he said, "Why are numbers beautiful? It's like asking why is Beethoven's Ninth Symphony beautiful. If you don't see why, someone can't tell you. I know numbers are beautiful. If they aren't beautiful, nothing is".Philosophy of film
The philosophy of film is a branch of aesthetics within the discipline of philosophy that seeks to understand the most basic questions regarding film. Philosophy of film has significant overlap with film theory, a branch of film studies.Philosophy of music
Philosophy of music is the study of "...fundamental questions about the nature of music and our experience of it". The philosophical study of music has many connections with philosophical questions in metaphysics and aesthetics.
Some basic questions in the philosophy of music are:
What is the definition of music? (what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for classifying something as music?)
What is the relationship between music and mind?
What is the relationship between music and language?
What does musical history reveal to us about the world?
What is the connection between music and emotions? (in the 19th century there was a debate over whether instrumental music could convey emotion)
What is meaning in relation to music?Sublime (philosophy)
In aesthetics, the sublime (from the Latin sublīmis) is the quality of greatness, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical, aesthetic, spiritual, or artistic. The term especially refers to a greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement, or imitation.Wabi-sabi
In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete". It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印, sanbōin), specifically impermanence (無常, mujō), suffering (苦, ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空, kū).
Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.