Beauty is also known as pulcrum. It is a transcendental perfection, which results from esse or the act of being. There are different degrees of being, the vegetative life (plants), the sentient life (animals) and the rational life (human persons); beauty’s variety and richness depends on the different degrees of being.
Beauty has different levels depending on the subject from which it transcends; intelligible beauty directly is attached to the spiritual life and the sense perceptible beauty is applied to things, which attracts our sense, especially our hearing and seeing.
There are different types too, natural beauty which comes from the nature of beings, therefore we can say a woman is beautiful naturally in her femininity and rationality; and artificially when she starts further enhancing her beauty through make-up, dressing and exercise, and a painting is artificially beautiful in so far as it is painted artificially by human hands.
The Unity Of Beauty And Goodness
A special type of goodness is beauty because it gives rise to a special delight by simply being known. The sensible appetite comes into play when it feels the aesthetic appreciation and delight. It is the contemplation of the beauty of the object not on its possession. Beauty is pleasing to the will or sense appetites simply by being known by the senses or the intellect.
The Foundation Of Beauty Lies In Perfection
The foundation of beauty lies in the perfection of the desired object; things are pleasing because they are beautiful. Therefore whether or not there are men or women who are capable of appreciating a beauty, the perfection still resides in the object and thus beautiful. This perfection is from the act of being, the fullness, and absolute Beauty.
Perfecting Beauty In Its Fullest Sense
The foundation of beauty is the absolute. Beauty, the act of being, and we can say things are beautiful in so far as they already possess perfection. However this is not the only aspect of beauty. A created being can only reach the fullness of the beauty if it possesses the perfection of its very nature. An example of this is a woman can only be truly beautiful in her being a woman, in her finest feminine nature.
There are three basic features of beauty:
There should be harmony and proportion in the object and subject itself and to its surroundings. The combination of clothes must be in accordance with the occasion and personality type. To further enhance one’s perfection, she is properly made up not excessively but appropriately, she is pleasing to the sight and thus we can say the person is attractive. Integrity and completeness of the object is another element to consider in its substantial and accidental form. A beautiful thing is considered when it is complete up to the last detail. The beauty of the Mozart Cantata is an example of a work of beauty of integrity and completeness.
Another element is clarity, both in the material and the spiritual. In case of systematic knowledge, clarity is seen in its intelligibility, truth and being. In case of the sense of hearing, the arrangement of the melody that makes the music pleasant. In the case of sight, light, limpidity and brightness are taken into consideration; a painting is characterized by clarity if there is light, limpidity, and brightness.