Eco_Umberto_On_Beauty_pdf (file size: MB, MIME type: Umberto Eco, On Beauty: A History of a Western Idea, trans. Alastair. BEAUTY. EDITED BY. UMBERTO. ECO. Translated from the Italian by Alastair The texts were written by Umberto Eco (the introduction and chapters 3,4,5,6, Umberto Eco History of Beauty - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt ) or read book online.
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Umberto Eco History of Beauty. Uploaded by. Ecaterina Guzenco. Eco- terney.info Uploaded by. elyamabushi. Umberto Eco. In History of Beauty, renowned author Umberto Eco sets out to demonstrate how every historical era has had its own ideas about eye-appeal. terney.info July , Is Beauty something objective or just in the eye of . Umberto Eco writes primarily as a scholar and as a philosopher only secondarily.
Not on the images. Each room corresponds to a period in the Quest of Beauty. In this pursuit we can also conceive each space as forming a petal of a different tone and shape, so that by the end of the journey we can see that this Temple has the appearance of a multi-faceted flower.
And a beautiful flower it is. In the search for Beauty along Western history many questions have been raised.
Where does Beauty originate? Is it in the things?
And therefore is it made by man, or is it in Nature and made by god? If a god creates beauty, then what is this god?
A concept, like Goodness? Or is it a being? If so, then what was his purpose? Or could man create it not in the things but out of the things? Who is this man mostly man, sometimes woman and what is his nature? Are all men capable of creating Beauty? Or is beauty really created by the subject? Is it in front of you or is it in your eye — the shifting eye of the beholder?
Can Beauty be measured? Indeed, is it proportion itself?
Who measures those proportions? This is an answer which seems surprisingly unimaginative for a polymath of Eco's acumen, if only because it provokes a great many more questions about the book's structure and content.
The introduction concludes that "Beauty has never been absolute and immutable but has taken on different aspects depending on the historical period and the country" - beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Having read this, I found myself wondering why the book confines itself to examples of beauty from western Europe and the iconography of Hollywood movies. On this evidence the populations of Russia, the Middle East, China, India, Japan, Africa and South America have had no concepts of beauty or at least no artefacts worthy of display, and while it is reasonable to suppose that the scope of On Beauty 's illustrations is the product of individual taste, their limitations seem to be defying the main thrust of its argument.
As a result, although we've been told with some force that this is a history of beauty, rather than art, it reads very much like an eclectic primer of western aesthetics and painting. This impression is reinforced by Eco's assertion of an essential "link between art and beauty".
It seems a curious claim after a century in which artists struggled to reject precisely this link between themselves and Renaissance beliefs. The problem is highlighted in the chapters on "monstrosities", and "ugliness".
Eco describes the medieval fascination with representations of devilish monsters and the pangs of hellfire, and argues that centuries of aesthetic theory presented ugliness as the antithesis of beauty, that the moral significance of ugliness lies in being a fundamental strand of a complex universe. One revealing aspect of these arguments is that they are the product of a view from the centre of a traditional European cosmos, and it's hard to imagine what the notion of monstrosity might mean were it to be tested against the background of a nonEuropean universe.
But it's not only in the world outside Europe that definitions of this kind begin to lose their force and meaning. In a European environment ruled by a polymorphous clutch of moral and religious rubrics, a large proportion of the population continues, for reasons which are essentially mysterious, to be fascinated by phenomena that are grotesque, monstrous or downright disgusting.
The contemplation of medieval monstrosities can, no doubt, be paralleled by the popularity of Victorian freak shows, or, in the present day, our delight in the varieties of horror peddled through the cinema, TV and the computer screen. From a contemporary standpoint, our fascination with fabulous monsters has now been divorced from morality, religious awe or even curiosity, and the underlying aesthetic is more to do with pure sensation.
The Renaissance invention of ugliness, therefore, can no longer stand in support of the category beauty.
For a large swath of contemporary practitioners, also, the idea of a beautiful representation is part of an aesthetic ideal which the American painter Barnett Newman described as "the bugbear of European art". On Beauty avoids discussing these contradictions, and the consequence is a beautifully produced guidebook to the classical and Renaissance practice that linked together ideas about art and beauty. The promise of Eco's introduction, however, never comes near fulfilment, and there's a curious sense that the book's editor was only half involved, that the assembly of the various elements took place on different sites and drew on different traditions.