Do you think that theories such as the elements and principles of design or the Darwinian explanation of art proposed by Dutton mean that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder?
Provide claims with examples in support of this KQ, and counter-claims and examples.
The commonly heard phrase of “beauty is in the eye of of the beholder” means that which one person finds beautiful or admirable may not appeal to another. This to me, refers to how beauty is subjective and there is no objective criteria for this, because it relies on each individual to judge what is beautiful and what is not. For the purpose of this post, I will be focusing on the visible side of beauty and the beauty behind the message of the artwork. However, there are theories against this proverb/claim. Theories such as the elements and principles of design means that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. Firstly, the elements and principals of design are a set of “rules and specifications” that determine how art should be made and the components that need to be evident within the art.
For example the elements of design include:
Colour & Line: line can be considered in two ways. The linear marks made with a pen or brush or the edge created when two shapes meet.
Shape: a shape is a self contained defined area of geometric or organic form. A positive shape in a painting automatically creates a negative shape.
Direction: all lines have direction – Horizontal, Vertical or Oblique. Horizontal suggests calmness, stability and tranquility. Vertical gives a feeling of balance, formality and alertness. Oblique suggests movement and action
Size: size is simply the relationship of the area occupied by one shape to that of another.
Texture: texture is the surface quality of a shape – rough, smooth, soft hard glossy etc. Texture can be physical (tactile) or visual.
Value: value is the lightness or darkness of a colour. Value is also called Tone
While the principals of design include:
Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder as these elements and principals of designed needs to be followed in order for a piece of artwork to be considered beautiful, so it does not rely on the individual to judge the degree of beauty, as beneath this judgement is the individual checking off the requirements under the elements and principals of design to determine its beauty. For example, in Red Balloon by Paul Klee, this artwork follows the components of the theory:
According to the theory, the artwork displays evidence of contrast with the red balloon with the faded, light colours of the sky to further enhance the balloon. The painting also incorporates lines (buildings), while the artist transformed his experiments in tonal value and line into visual anecdotes etc.. Therefore, this would be considered beautiful as it follows the elements and principals of design, which means that what people find beautiful is based on this theory and not in the “eye of the beholder”.
However, the degree of beauty in a piece of artwork does depend on the eye of the beholder when it comes to the message behind the art piece. For example, in the elements and principals of design, it states that “repetition with variation is interesting, without variation repetition can become monotonous. If you wish to create interest, any repeating element should include a degree of variation.” In the painting “Bird fish” by M.C Esher, it displays the same image of a bird and a fish in the same pattern/order as well:
Even if this painting does not follow the rule that repetition should be “varied repetition”, but the purpose behind the painting would be to provide commentary tool of consumerism and mass production, and this message could be considered beautiful despite not being visibly/physically beautiful.