The point of this post is to determine whether beauty is either subjective or objective. In order to do this beauty must first be defined. Is beauty something that we find aesthetically pleasing or is beauty a stand-alone property which defined an artefact? Personally, I believe that we as free thinking individuals have the ability to discover personal interpretations of beauty from artefacts. I understand that this may be problematic as this would render any definition of beauty void. Also it may be argued that what we believe to be a personal interpretation of beauty may be our subconscious discovery of the objective beauty which resides within the artefact. Can beauty be both objective and subjective? Is it possible that all beauty is objective and we determine and decipher it subjectively? The concept of beauty is one which is metaphysical and thus cannot be classified as a physical object and this in turn leads me to believe that beauty is indeed subjective.
Firstly, let me outline the biggest argument surrounding beauty from the objective school of thought. Beauty is objective because it is contained within an artefact. Thus, an artefact is beautiful, for no tangible reason and anyone who does not see this beauty has clouded vision and is regarded as a lesser being. So if we are to take this definition on face value, then it can be read as a glorified support for class structure. And so in terms of conventional art formsi.e. painting, drawing, classical music etc., the notion of objective beauty has been created to cement this higher level of society populated by self-declared ‘all knowing’ beings, who have the divine right to determine that which is beautiful and that which is not. Let me take the example of classical music, which is considered to be of a higher standing to all other music genres. Personally I am a fan of classical music, although not an avid follower. But in terms of the argument I am posing, the likes of Mozart, Elgar, Berlioz and so on were considered ‘pop stars’, for lack of a better term, during their lives. It is possible and quiet likely that a modern musician, in any genre, may go on to surpass the achalades awarded to Mozart. And thus we should not be dismissive to modern music. Subscribers to the objective view would have us told that popular mediums do not contain beauty, but the reality of this is that popular mediums, such as music, are not ‘highbrow’ enough for the members of the exclusive clubhouse of fine art connoisseurs.
To conclude, beauty is a subjective concept, or rather it should be a subjective concept. I’m guessing that the majority of people will say that beauty is subjective, but treat it as objective. I believe that fine art can contain beautiful elements, but the beauty derives from my understanding and relation to the artefact. Rather than being told that ‘x’ is beautiful for no tangible reason and thus forcing myself into believing that ‘x’ is indeed beautiful. Beauty derives from opinion and personal expression, I believe that there is nothing more beautiful than freedom, be it of mind or of expression. Art was not meant to be generically viewed, it is meant to be thought provoking and thus, I believe that beauty is indeed subjective.