A Beautiful Scenery Essay

It had long been held that men and women approached the world differently.

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These unfortunate stereotypes are very familiar to us, and they play both ways.

When a woman is confident and intellectual she is sometimes deemed unfeminine.

To call something beautiful is not the same as calling it an important work of art.

As a philosopher might say, beauty is not a necessary condition of the art object.

We only need to look to the tasteless comments made about Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her partner Tim Mathieson to see evidence of that today.

By the 1880s, many caricatures were published of a flamboyant Wilde as a cultivated aesthete.

And yet, it is often the beauty we perceive in works of art from the past or from another culture that makes them so compelling.

When we recognise the beauty of an object made or selected by another person we understand that maker/selector as a feeling subject who shared with us an ineffable aesthetic experience.

Oscar Wilde was, perhaps, the consummate Aesthete - famed as much for his wit as for his foppish dress and his love of peacock feathers, sun flowers and objets d’art.

His often-quoted comment “I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china” has been noted as a perfect summary of the aesthete’s vacuous nature.


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