Beauty is most commonly defined as a subjective aesthetic feature of things which makes these objects enjoyable to view. These objects may be nature, human or works of art. Beauty, along with beauty, is perhaps the most important philosophical topic of aesthetics, among the various branches of humanities. Philosophers in all cultures around the world have long debated what constitutes the ideal beauty of a human being. Many of these philosophers subscribe to different aesthetically defined philosophies, but they all agree on one thing beauty is a matter of the individual’s culture, beliefs and expectations.
Beauty in aesthetics is usually associated with art. It is seen in the works of architects, painters, photographers, decorators and even many musicians. The word ‘art’ comes from the Greek word ‘aktor’, which means ‘appearance’. Today, the term has developed to mean any work of visual arts, including films, paintings, music, sculpture, photographic art, printmaking, and architecture. Art also includes works of practical reason, such as furniture and cookery, interior design, computer graphics, jewelry, dance, and other artistic creations.
Beauty in aesthetics is usually described in terms of contrast. The act of creating an aesthetic work of art involves creating a work that displays a contrast of some sort, such as two or more contrasting subjects, a set of contrasting colors, a distinct shape, a distinct size, a luminous or glossy finish or any other kind of contrast. Aesthetics is not primarily a form of art appreciation; beauty, like beauty in general, is merely a subjective idea, the idea of which can vary from person to person. In this way beauty is subjective, and the object of beauty can be anything. Therefore, beauty exists only for the observer.
According to the majority of aestheticians, beauty relates to the pleasing visual appearance of objects. We all have a basic need to find and examine beautiful things. Whether this needs arises from childhood when you are drawn to beautiful objects as your parent’s did, or it arises from the need for comfort and warmth outside, such as when looking at beautiful landscapes or outdoor scenes that you cannot obtain anywhere else, or from our need to find and evaluate beautiful things in a setting other than home, most people share a basic need to see and evaluate beautiful things. This need to find and evaluate beautiful things is not unique to humans; all animals look for and evaluate beautiful things in their environment. Beauty is one way we share a basic need with other animals.
In aesthetics, beauty are associated with the need for pleasure. Pleasure is defined as enjoying or indulging in pleasure. If beauty is the subjective idea of something beautiful and satisfying to the human eye, then pleasure would be the subjective idea of enjoyment. Pleasure differs from beauty because it is connected with other aspects of a person’s life – whether this enjoyment takes place in private or in public – rather than being centered on the visual and tactile senses.
There are three basic categories of aesthetic response, the aesthetic, the personal and the emotional response. Aesthetic response tends to include pleasure, whereas personal aesthetic response is usually oriented towards enhancing interpersonal relationships and enhancing self-esteem. A personal aesthetic response can include an artistic creation or the viewing of a beautiful object, a performance or the reading of a beautifully written piece of prose. An emotional response is different from a personal aesthetic one as it is directed towards helping others, whether this involves one’s own self or one’s relation to others. Finally, an emotional response is a powerful motivating force, which can motivate people to pursue certain goals through the process of aesthetic appreciation of beauty in objects.