Let’s unpack this one.
Tolstoy published a lesser known monograph titled “What is art?” In 1897.
For the majority of this piece, he grapples with the aesthetic definition of ‘beauty’ and what contributes to the various art forms that he analyses.
After a meandering argument about what might constitute beauty, he eventually concedes that art and beauty comes down to a simple matter of fact.
Can you feel it.
And for me, this is the crux of beauty.
You see, it’s too convenient when you can explain the beauty with something like the golden ratio.
Those who advocate for this arbitrary explanation of beauty then struggle to explain how anything else is beautiful, without borrowing another arbitrary explanation.
“Oh, no, that’s beautiful because it’s symmetrical”
When you find your five year old daughter’s letter saying they miss you – with a pencil drawing of you and her – an aesthetic explanation of why this is beautiful completely misses the point.
Yet much of art is interpreted through this superficial lense.
Beauty is a deep, meaningful feeling.
So anyone that explains the beauty of something without exploring the deeper issue is probably missing the point.