Sometimes we hear that beauty is the only force capable of conquering space and time, inspiring musicians, artists and poets; that no one can resist her mysterious attraction. Following F. Dostoevsky we say: “Beauty will save the world.” So, do we make beauty the universal true religion?
But it is worth thinking about, and we come to the conviction that such a religion is impossible. Just the same for the simple reason that the notion of beauty changed not only in the epochs, but also in countries and continents. When we, amazed by what we saw, exclaim: “Beauty!”, We often mean: “Great!”. But how will the Australian aborigine, Chinese, African or American Indian respond to the same spectacle? How would our own ancestors react? After all, when we turn on the cassette tape with modern youth songs, then we hear from the mouth of our grandparents about the following: “Ugh! Devil take some!”
And this is the reaction of people with
whom we are separated only one generation – our parents. What, then, is there to talk about the notions of beauty that existed in different epochs?
For example, at the dawn of civilization the meaning of beauty consisted in the harmonious cohabitation of man and nature. Ancient man has not yet turned into a warrior conqueror. He lived a natural life in a natural habitat and in this, I think, saw beauty.
Was there at that time an idea of female beauty? If so, the cult of feminine beauty was the woman’s ability to match fertile land. This is evidenced by the fat forms of ancient women in rock carvings, and figurines with their image.
Perceptions of perfect beauty, which is close even to our time, arise in antiquity. Harmony, proportions, correct lines of male and female silhouettes. But all this is beauty, perceived visually. To me, the beauty embodied in the word is much more perfect. She can not remain indifferent, can not help but impress thought and imagination. I mean the singer Homer, who in my immortal “Iliad” gives, in my opinion, a brilliant description of the
female beauty of Elena the Beautiful. He does not say how tall Elena was, what hair, eyes, lips, smile, or something else she had. Homer, through the mouths of wise old men, says that it was a beauty worthy of a grueling ten-year war.
The ideal of beauty, close to the ancient, arises in the Renaissance. At this time in a man and a woman again appreciate the blooming power, which is perceived by the most important prerequisite of creative power. The perfect beauty of the Renaissance presupposed a categorical elimination of the masculine image of femininity, and of the female image of masculinity. A man was considered beautiful if there were signs in him that characterized his sexual activity: strength and energy.
Perfect beauty was enjoyed by those women who possessed the data necessary to fulfill the role of motherhood. In contrast to the Middle Ages, who preferred a woman with narrow hips and slender waist, the woman began to appreciate the wide hips, strong waist, thick buttocks and lush breasts.
But here came the age of the Enlightenment, and with it new ideas about beauty arose. Strength and power began to be perceived aesthetically ugly, because physical labor became a disgrace. The ideal of beauty is a man pampered, idle. Admiration is caused by women who have a painful pallor, a small foot, narrow brushes, a slim, thin frame.
The next change of epochs made a change in the notions of beauty. The bourgeois age has come, which, with the ideal of beauty, has been proclaimed a clear, energetic view, a straight, strained posture, gestures and expressions, full of willpower, hands that can not only grab, but also hold on to captured, feet, energetically stepping and firmly standing on the conquered position. These qualities were equally valued both in man and in woman.
However, the bourgeois age has brought beauty to the ideal of beauty.
Reflecting on the beauty of the human soul, the Russian poet N. Zabolotsky wrote:
… what is beauty
? And why is it deified by people?
Is it the vessel in which there is emptiness,
Or is the fire shimmering in the vessel?
A look at the concept of beauty through the ages allows us to conclude that beauty is a relative concept. In search of perfection, each person spends his whole life. And in this search he reaches out to the beautiful, because only “beauty has the power and gift to bring peace to the heart.”