The desire for beauty is an important spiritual need of Homo sapiens that has existed since ancient times. Man has always wanted to surround himself with attractive characters and things pleasing to the eye. Beauty is both spiritual and material. People have a craving for both types of aesthetic beginnings. The need for spiritual beauty is satisfied by works of art, and for material beauty by the material world.
The concept of aesthetics is different in each historical period. The way primitive people understood beauty is radically different from the perception of aesthetics in our time. The concept of beauty depends on the level of material and technical development of society, existing cultural traditions, moral values, fashion trends. But one thing is certain: beauty is eternal in whatever form it is expressed.
The development of ideas about beauty
The first designers were primitive people, as they tried to decorate their own lives. Savages drew images of animals on the walls of their cave dwellings, made symmetrical notches on household items. In the later period, there are household items with primitive decorations, the first ornaments.
With the development of civilization, the formation of the powerful powers of the Ancient East, Egypt, ancient Greece and Rome, notions of beauty become more complex. Different types of art arise and improve: singing, dance, music, theater, mythology, literature, architecture, sculpture, painting, arts and crafts. Fashion, perfumery, interior and landscape design, sports associated with the culture of body development, the first cosmetic procedures are practiced.
The emergence of world religions has made adjustments in the development of aesthetic thought and the notion of beauty. For example, in Christian Europe during the Middle Ages, the beautiful body was considered to be the Devil’s vessel. There was a rejection of the value of material beauty. But the desire to aesthetically transform reality, even with a religious connotation, continued. There were their artistic canons, which manifested themselves in art (Gothic cathedrals, stained glass windows, poems) and in everyday life (clothing, decorations, home decoration).
The Renaissance and New Age in Europe were marked by the affirmation of secularism and the rehabilitation of the beauty of the material world. Once again the beautiful human body and the beautiful way of life are celebrated. Artistic styles and aesthetic concepts replaced each other, inventing more and more sophisticated forms of beauty: baroque, rococo, classicism, romanticism, modern, avant-garde, postmodernism. Aesthetic ideals developed and changed under the influence of many factors: political, economic, cultural, religious, influencing both art and everyday life.
Our time is unique in that we possess an enormous cultural heritage that has accumulated over thousands of years of history. On the one hand, contemporary notions of beauty differ greatly from those of previous eras; on the other hand, existing cultural baggage influences current aesthetic values.
In the modern era, the concept of beauty is extremely blurred. This is evident in relation to both art and the ideal of beauty. Some people perceive only realistic paintings, not understanding abstractionism, while others admire Malevich’s black square. Some consider a sporty, muscular body, perfect proportions, correct facial features transformed by plastic surgery beautiful, and some advocate body positivity and call to see attractiveness in naturalness and external imperfections. Different states have their own individual notions of beauty, which are determined by national, cultural, religious traditions, the characteristics of the climate, the level of economic development.
Like people of ancient eras, modern man has a desire to enjoy beautifying life. Material beauty surrounds us in everything: urban planning, interior and landscape design, fashionable bows, stylish home appliances, gadgets and cars, culinary artistry. Man of the XXI, like people of past times, is able to take great aesthetic pleasure in works of art and contemplation of nature.
Thus, beauty is a timeless concept, since humanity’s longing for the aesthetic has always been topical and inherent in its nature. It is both universal and individual. Beauty in different forms fills people’s lives with meaning, gives them pleasant emotions, allows them to distract themselves from the problems and routine of everyday life.