Aesthetics (also spelled æsthetics) is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty, and taste, with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. More broadly, scholars in the field define aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture and nature."
More specific aesthetic theory, often with practical implications, relating to a particular branch of the arts is divided into areas of aesthetics such as art theory, literary theory, film theory and music theory. An example from art theory is aesthetic theory as a set of principles underlying the work of a particular artist or artistic movement: such as the Cubist aesthetic.
The word aesthetic is derived from the Greek αἰσθητικός (aisthetikos, meaning "esthetic, sensitive, sentient"), which in turn was derived from αἰσθάνομαι (aisthanomai, meaning "I perceive, feel, sense"). The term "aesthetics" was appropriated and coined with new meaning in the German form Æsthetik (modern spelling Ästhetik) by Alexander Baumgarten in 1734. It is also derived from the French word esthétique, both German and French words come from the Greek aisthetikos "sensitive, perceptive".
History of aesthetics
Bronze sculpture, thought to be either Poseidon or Zeus, National Archaeological Museum of Athens
Any aesthetic doctrines that guided the production and interpretation of prehistoric art are mostly unknown. Ancient art was largely, but not entirely, based on the nine great ancient civilizations: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Greece, China, Rome, India, the Celtic peoples, and Maya. Each of these centers of early civilization developed a unique and characteristic style in its art.
Ancient Greek aesthetics
Greece had the most influence on the development of aesthetics in the West. This period of Greek art saw a veneration of the human physical form and the development of corresponding skills to show musculature, poise, and beauty and anatomically correct proportions. Furthermore, in many Western and Eastern cultures alike, traits such as body hair are rarely depicted in art that addresses physical beauty. Greek philosophers initially felt that aesthetically appealing objects were beautiful in and of themselves. Plato believed that for us to have a perception of beauty there must be a transcendent form for beauty in which beautiful objects partake and which causes them to be beautiful also. He felt that beautiful objects incorporated proportion, harmony, and unity among their parts. Similarly, in the Metaphysics, Aristotle found that the universal elements of beauty were order, symmetry, and definiteness. An example of ancient aesthetics in Greece through poetry is Plato's quote: "For the authors of those great poems which we admire, do not attain to excellence through the rules of any art; but they utter their beautiful melodies of verse in a state of inspiration, and, as it were, possessed by a spirit not their own."
Abu kalam Shamsuddin