What is beauty? How do you define that which makes

by:Sycda     2020-09-11

The perception of beauty is thought to have arisen through evolutionary necessity - if an environment looks right then it will probably provide adequate food and shelter and if a person looks right then there is a good chance that progeny arising from a union with that individual will be OK too. By the same token, if a wall sticker looks right coming out of the tube then it's bound to look great above the sofa!

It is easy to see this instinct for beauty in the behaviour of small children. A small child will always be drawn to those of fair aspect and if you saw some of the people down at my local Asda you'd wonder why there wasn't a great deal more 'running-away-and-screaming'. A smile from a beautiful person will delight a small child and set them to picturesque gurgling almost as much as a wall sticker. Almost, but not quite.

Beauty is also defined in ideas of proportion and symmetry. Classical architects and renaissance revivalists like Palladio designed even the tiniest part of a structure in strict accordance with proportions and ratios like a + b over a equals a over b equals 1.61. No, I don't know what that means either but 1.61 is very close to my height in metres when I'm putting up a wall sticker standing in a trench. Looks good doesn't it?

Mankind has striven over the millennia to make his environment as agreeable as possible. The cave paintings at Lascaux are thought to have had spiritual significance for early modern man but might it not equally be the case that he was just fed up with the sight of smoky limestone as we ourselves have tired of textured plaster finishes? Might it not also be the case that wall stickers are the pinnacle of this search for visual nirvana? I think they are.

In the modern era traditional classical ideas of beauty have often been rejected, mainly by sour looking people with moustaches when they get cut off by their bourgeois parents for not doing something respectable in the run-up to World War One. How old-fashioned this rejection of beauty seems now when we have wall stickers to brighten up the sitting room and bedroom and even the kitchen!

It is true that beyond the manmade environment the natural world provides us with many wondrous sights to behold: Sunsets, sunrises, soaring mountains, delicate blooms and kittens but you would have to have cloth eyes not to appreciate a ripped off Banksy painting or a cartoon bunny wrought in sturdy UV resistant sticky backed poly-vinyl. So raise a glass (and then drink what's in it and then have another) to the summit of aesthetic perfection - Wall stickers! I thank you.

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