First of all, we must abandonthe idea that there is a single compact definition of “beautiful” andthat we can therefore know through fixed standards what is beautiful: theconcept of beauty depends primarily on the various civilizations. This one is united,in many civilizations, to that of good. Moreover, the term,”beautiful”, derives from the Latin “bellus”, which is adiminutive from the root “duenulus bonulus”, that is, something”good in small”, or “moderately good”. Moreover, we alsoknow that in Greece the term “kalós” is “beautiful”, but isoften connected with the term “good.
In ancient times and in manyhistorical periods beauty was considered something above nature. We have had different models of Beautythroughout the centuries two of the main ones were : the model of the GreekVenus, that predominates in our day and the other is that of the paleolithic Venus,fat, with big breasts and big butt. In the Greek world there has never been anofficial theory of Beauty , this wasconnected to an objectivistic conception, which makes itdepend on external criteria (good, harmony, etc.
) and as SartwellCrispin in the Stanford Encyclopedia ofPhylosophy states “Beauty has traditionally beencounted among the ultimate values, with goodness, truth, and justice”. Pythagoreans, for example, identify beautywith symmetry and proportion. Plato inserts it in a metaphysical context: inthe Phaedrus and in the Symposium, beauty is linked to Eros, ” Plato’s discussions of beauty inthe Symposium and the Phaedrus occur in thecontext of the theme of erotic love.
In the former, love is portrayed as the’child’ of poverty and plenty” (Sartwell, Crispin. “Beauty.”). Plotino gives an even more intellectual andtheological vision: beauty is the only “visible” idea, capable ofleading the soul in its “metaphysical journey of return” to the One,”source of every beauty”.The oracle of Delphi, when asked about thecriteria for evaluating Beauty, replies: “The most just is the most beautiful”.
Instead the solution proposed by Heraclitus is different:Harmony is not absence but balance of contrasts. As I studied in my Art Historyclass Greek sculpture does not idealizea specific figure , Johann Joachim Winckelmann admits “They began to form certain general ideas ofbeauty, with regard to the proportions of the inferiour parts, as well as ofthe whole frame: these they raised above the reach of mortality, according tothe superiour model of some ideal nature”(12), this is the ideal ofKalokagathía, whose highest expression are the verses of Sappho and thesculptures of Praxiteles.Each culture, alongsideits own conception of Beauty, has always supported its own idea of ??the Ugly.Greekmythology was rich in figures such as fauns, cyclops, chimeras and minotaursthat were the opposite of the statues ,which were the symbols of an idealized Beauty. And the followingcenturies Romans and other sculpotors imitated Greek Art , trying to reachtheir ideal Beauty and perfection in proportions as always Johann Joachim Winckelmann claims ” Building on this ground, his hand and sensesdirected by the Greek rule of beauty, the modern artist goes on the surest wayto the imitation of Nature. The ideas of unity and perfection, which heacquired in meditating on antiquity, will help him to combine, and to ennoblethe more scattered and weaker beauties of our Nature.
Thus he will improveevery beauty he discovers in it, and by comparing the beauties of nature withthe ideal, form rules for himself”(19). The Greek idea of harmony and Beautyhas influenced our society today, especially their pursuit for a perfect ,muscled body, that is become the new ideal body today. What we don’t understandis that there is not a specific definition of Beauty , ” Perhaps the mostfamiliar basic issue in the theory of beauty is whether beauty issubjective—located ‘in the eye of the beholder’—or whether it is an objectivefeature of beautiful things.” (Sartwell,Crispin. “Beauty.”). I personally believe that even though each one of us has asubjective definition of it , the majority of people is influenced by the worldthat sorrounds us, and especially in oursociety by the social media, by magazines and at the end we end up liking acertain type of Beauty, darkening our own tastes.