Beauty is defined by some philosophers as the quality of pleasing or pleasant feeling. Beauty is most commonly defined as the beauty of beautiful objects which makes these objects pleasant to see. Such objects may include nature, sunsets, people and artistic works of art. Beauty, along with aesthetic sense, is the most important theme of aesthetics, among the major branches of art history.
The word’Beauty’ is very vague and has various definitions. A definition given by the American Psychological Association says that beauty is ‘the mental attitude that approves of and values the attributes of a thing.’ In other words it is the mental state that creates an aesthetic sense. According to the same source, beauty has many different aspects and includes the mental aspects of appreciation, valuation and estimation, attitude and unconscious behavior.
The word’Beauty’is also used in many contexts and it has various meanings. According to the Merriam Webster’s dictionary beauty is ‘a beauty which most people agree is natural, probable, or reasonable’. According to the same source, beauty is ‘a subjective, emotional state that affects our feelings and attitudes’. In other words beauty is our ‘feelings’, our ‘favourite emotions’. We can be attracted to certain beauty and dislike others.
A more precise definition of beauty is ‘the quality of having a pleasant mental attitude, which gives pleasure.’ The psychologist Sigmund Freud, in his study of human beauty, gave importance to the need for beauty in a person. According to Freud, a person can be beautiful if he has certain qualities such as the ability to be sensitive, creative, cooperative, and sympathetic. According to this definition beauty is a conscious quality or a mental attitude. Beauty can be considered as the definition of beauty or the aesthetic sense.
Beauty is a very personal experience. It differs from person to person. Some people may find beauty in their physical appearance while others may look for beauty in the facial expression or the clothes they wear. On the other hand, ‘appealing’ may mean the same thing as ‘appealing to the eye’. What is beautiful to you may not be beautiful to me. Similarly, what is appealing to you may not be appealing to others.
A definition of beauty as ‘the proportionate distribution of contrast with the surrounding background’ is often used to explain the beauty perception. It is a fact that we all pay attention to some parts of ourselves more than other parts of us. The visible part of us is referred to as the physical beauty. But this physical beauty is just one component of our beauty sense. Beauty is an enduring quality that transcends time and culture.