What Makes Thing Beautiful

Explanation about beauty conception and it’s relation to public taste.

We know a thing is beautiful when we see it, but when we have to explain what makes it beautiful suddenly we don’t know what beauty is. The awe we feel is Indescribable, like when we see an object such as a painting. We love it without able to describe what makes it beautiful.

For years philosophers also mathematician trying to find an answer to this beauty case. Aesthetic, also geometry are being used trying to explain what makes things beautiful. Is beauty subjective or objective?

Beauty is Objective

According to Plato, to know what beauty is, we have to know what beautiful things have something in common. Then that theory is supported by mathematicians centuries after his era. Almost all things considered beauty by most people have something common in their geometrical shape.

And those who believe beauty is objective said that beauty is lying on the object itself. It involved symmetry, regularity, pattern uniformity, color harmony, until the formula known as the golden ratio. All of that explanation is acceptable, and most of us agree that an object that fits that criteria can be considered beautiful, at least by most people. But is that enough to explain what beauty is?

Golden ratio (Sc: Vectornator)
The Mona Lisa painting, regarded as the most popular painting in history. Fit this golden ratio rules. (Sc: GM Design Group)
Golden ratio in Ancient greek architecture (Sc: Creative Bloq)

Beauty is subjective

Contrary to people who believe beauty is objective, some people believe beauty is subjective. They believe beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is not lying on the thing itself, but how we perceive it. That’s why beauty standard among people and region is different, that’s why taste among people is different.

The theory of the golden ratio is completely stuck in people’s heads about beauty standards. They rarely question it because they believe it’s the truth. Are things that don’t follow the golden ration cannot be considered beautiful? In response to that, the avant-garde movement came to answer. In simple, avant-garde is an unusual and experimental concept that is often used by artists. In most cases, avant-garde is against the golden rule concept, but still able to be considered beautiful, even not everyone agrees it’s beautiful.

Untitled, 1075. An Avant-Garde Painting by Jackson Pollock. (Sc: Artsy)
Avant-Garde Collection from Carol Christian Poell. Despite its strange design, it has it’s own fanbase. Costs more than $2000 and receiving huge demand. (Sc: Lazzari)

Beauty is familiarity

The debate that beauty is objective or subjective hasn’t settled until today, some people still believe that beauty is objective meanwhile others still believe it’s subjective.

And from what I learned beauty is subjective, the reason it subjective is our perception of beauty is hugely influenced by our environment. That the conception of beauty that the public has shown to us since we were kid on tv, in magazines and even in society shaped our conception about beauty itself.

That’s why, people that live in Mediterranean love Mediterranean architecture more than other kinds of architecture, African man find African woman more attractive than caucasian woman and Peruvian sees Peru textiles as more beautiful than Indian textiles. And their preferences only can change if they got external influence from media and internet.

And there’s nothing such as a completely ugly object, the thing that we consider ugly is just thing that we find strange and unusual to us because we rarely see them. That’s the reason why we see alien is terrifying and ugly because its unusual to us to see creatures like them. If we were alien and grew up among aliens, we might consider aliens beautiful too because we’re familiar with that.

This familiarity theory is not only an answer to the debate that beauty is objective or subjective but also answers about the origin of personal taste, is it nature or nurture. That’s why no song is best among others because the song that we consider good is song that we feel familiar, and our familiarity is shaped by our environment.

-> Conclusion

Beauty is lies on the eye of beholder, the reason is the thing that we consider beautiful is something familiar to us. if you like something that not familiar to you, actually you might have seen similar thing like that before but you didn’t realize, maybe in your childhood. because what happened in the past influencing the way you see things today.

All writings are based on writer’s perspective.