The Problems of Defining Art
Beauty is widely defined as the mental state of an object that makes those objects pleasurable to see. Such objects are humans, landscapes, sunsets and artistic works of art. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary beauty is “a quality of things that makes them beautiful”. Beauty, along with taste and art, is perhaps the most important theme of aesthetics, among the various branches of contemporary philosophy. The word “esthetic” derives from the Greek word “aktor”, which means beauty or form. More recent usage has added the word “esthetic” to denote beauty in all its forms and presentations.
Aesthetics scholars have divided the aesthetics into three areas: cognitive, contextual and communicative. Cognitive aesthetics concerns the meaning and significance of aesthetic experiences; it includes theories of value, aesthetics, and power. Contextual aesthetics concerns the use of space and time in the context of the social art environment. It also includes theories of value systems, ritual, and power. Aesthetics that emerged out of the modernist or post-modernist eras pertains to theories of visual culture, technological technologies, and communication.
Beauty in art, like beauty in nature, exists in the mind of the creator, however, there is a difference. While beauty in nature is subjective, the beauty of art is not subjective since it can be objectively measured, whereas the beauty of the human mind is subjective. The definition of beautiful art will therefore vary according to each person’s point of view.