Dr. the beautiful and the sublime. [Danto

Dr. Marck L. Beggs, Director M.L.A. Program
What is Artistic Beauty?
From the beginning of time, men and women have scrutinized, categorized, and
compared components of their surroundings in an attempt to better understand their world.In
the Bible's Genesis account, Adam, seemingly in appreciation of Eve's uniqueness and beauty,
poetically proclaims her, "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman,
for she was taken out of man."[Gen. 2:23 NIV] Much later, artists, writers, and philosophers have
sought to understand beauty, balance, and perfection — the sublime.Their struggle to define
perfection and to set standards of beauty was termed aesthetics or, "the science of the beautiful,"
in 1753 by German philosopher Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten. Baumgarten was considered
thefirst modern philosopher to approach the question of beauty systematically, introducing the
term aesthetics and defining the experience of beauty as the sensory recognition of perfection.
[Danto 1].The works of his contemporary, Immanuel Kant,express the notion that beautiful
objects are without a specific purpose and that judgments of beauty are not expressions of mere
personal preference but, rather, universal.Similarly, Encarta defines aesthetics as:
A branch of philosophy concerned with the essence and perception of beauty and
ugliness, dealing with the question of whether such qualities are objectively present in
the things they appear to qualify, or whether they exist only in the mind of the individual;
hence, whether objects are perceived by a particular mode, the aesthetic mode, or
whether instead the objects have, in themselves, special aesthetic qualities. Philosophy
also asks if there is a difference between the beautiful and the sublime. [Danto 1]
However, even with a definition at hand, arriving at a consensus on precisely what c…