Beauty is frequently defined as a subjective quality of things which makes these things aesthetically enjoyable to see. These things include sunsets, landscapes, humans and beautiful works of art. Beauty, along with beauty and art, is currently the most popular subject of aesthetics, among the major branches of fine art. It also covers a wide range of other areas of human life from food and beauty to politics, war, and religious beliefs. Many different theories have been postulated in order to explain the beauty that we observe around us.
The theories on beauty proposed so far have all started from a single source, namely, aesthetics. It was in the late 19th century that the real start was made when a French doctor, Camille Descartes, put forth the idea that beauty can be found through the process of choosing the most beautiful object. His notion that beauty can be found by a person by looking at things around him is called aesthetic sense. From this source, aesthetic concepts about beauty began to take shape.
Later philosophers like Immanuel Kant (1799-1855) and Leo Tolstoy (1800-1947) picked up the torch and contributed to the expanding field of aesthetics. Their ideas about how aesthetic judgments are formed helped to solidify the definition of beauty, giving it a more definite and scientific definition. In the modern era, however, the term ‘appearance’ became associated with beauty in its widest sense, including aesthetic appreciation of certain forms of beauty as determined by others. Modern aesthetics is a philosophical study of how beauty relates to the other components of a person’s personality.
Beauty is a highly individual concept; there is no universally accepted definition for beauty. The definition of beauty varies significantly among cultures and societies, even within the human mind itself. According to some philosophers, beauty consists of a mental state such as mental illness, whereas others think that beauty is primarily subjective, arising from a person’s personal preference of facial attributes.
Modern aesthetic experiences tend to focus on defining and enhancing the aesthetic experience rather than simply describing it. However, most people agree on three universal aspects of beauty that should be highly appreciated: attractiveness, proportion and cleanliness. Aesthetics are usually studied in art classes, but they are also an important part of everyday life. Cleanliness and health are essential aspects of good physical appearance, which is one factor that cannot be denied in contemporary aesthetic practices. It is this philosophy of beauty that underpins the work of some of the greatest modern artists, such as Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso.
Our modern aesthetic experiences are deeply influenced by beauty rituals that have been practiced for centuries. Beauty rituals such as facial painting, hair dyeing, body sculpting and makeup application have been seen as important parts of a person’s social life. We associate beauty with our status in society, and beauty is seen as the primary motivator of many classic songs. Modern aesthetics continues to influence our ideas about beauty in many ways, including how we deal with skin disease.