Beauty is one of the most controversial topics in literature. A number of debates have been held about the nature of beauty, and its role in politics.
Beauty has traditionally been regarded as one of the highest values. This notion has a history stretching back to ancient Greek philosophy. Ancient and medieval philosophers viewed beauty as the ultimate value. In the 18th century, the ideas of the philosophes Kant and Hume emphasized the subjective nature of beauty.
The classical concept of beauty was embodied in classical music, architecture, and sculpture. It focuses on harmony, proportionality, and balance. Often expressed in mathematical ratios, the idea is that the arrangement of integral parts in a coherent whole evokes pleasure and is beautiful.
As time went on, the concept of beauty became increasingly politicized. During the French revolution, Rococo style, and an aristocracy associated with beauty emerged. However, during the 20th century, the concept of beauty lost its status as a primary goal of the arts. With the rise of capitalism, it came to be regarded as a commodity, and the great art of the period sometimes served as a means of furnishing homes of wealthy individuals.
Several twentieth-century thinkers tried to reconcile the decline in the use of beauty in the arts. For example, Arthur Danto wrote a book called The Abuse of Beauty.
Another approach is ecstatic neo-Platonism, which emphasizes the unity of an object. Among other things, this neo-Platonism includes the fact that beauty calls out love.