Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that studies beauty. Beauty is the subjective quality of an object that gives meaning, pleasure and satisfaction to the viewer or audience. It can be experienced through the senses or intellect. In the classical and modern eras, there have been many different theories about beauty. Some of these have been used to justify a particular viewpoint.

For example, the Greeks believed that beauty was a matter of symmetry and proportion. They saw it as a form of harmony. A good example of this is the golden ratio. The golden ratio is a sequence of Fibonacci numbers.

The concept of beauty is also associated with religion. Christians believe that it is a reflection of God’s infinite perfection. This makes the creation of art an important issue for them. Traditionally, the ancients treated beauty as a ecstatic experience. However, in the twentieth century, beauty began to take a negative turn, as people began to focus on its negative aspects.

Several philosophers have tried to define what beauty is. Some of these theories include the Euclidean position, which identifies beauty with the idea of symmetrical relation of parts to whole. Others argue that beauty is a subjective experience that differs from person to person.

During the eighteenth century, thinkers started to move towards a more subjective and personal stance. Edmund Burke, for instance, opposed the notion that beauty can only be found in harmony and proportion. Instead, he said that beauty can be enjoyed as an aesthetic experience, which is one of the five modes of pleasure.

David Hume, the eighteenth century philosopher, also argued that beauty is a subjective state. He did not agree with Plato, who believed that beauty is a product of nature. As a result, he defended individual will. His account of the beautiful is gentle, and permits variance, though he does not believe that there are absolutes.

Other thinkers, such as Kant, emphasized the subjective aspects of beauty. These included the spectator’s emotional reaction to a work of art. Although the early philosophers looked at beauty in a quantitative fashion, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw a change in the way that people thought about it. During this period, culture grew, with burgeoning cultures of feeling. Consequently, a more Romantic understanding of beauty began to develop.

The twentieth century saw an intense debate about beauty, as thinkers tried to reconcile it with an age of genocide and war. Arthur Danto’s 1992 book ‘The Abandonment of Beauty’, for example, describes the phenomenon of the ‘age of indignation’. At the same time, the sabotage of modern art, the planting of urinals in art shows, and the rise of Dadaism all influenced how people thought about beauty.

The twentieth century was a time of uncertainty about how to define and reconcile beauty with an era of wars, wastelands, and war zones. Some of the most notable controversies involve the definition of human beauty. While the reasons for such controversies can be convincing, it is not always easy to define beauty.