Art in architecture
What is art?
What is aesthetics?
Can we define art?
Architecture as an art


What is aesthetics?

The word "Aesthetics", which is frequently used by art critics must be understood in its fullest meaning. Most of us, attribute their ignorance to a misconception about the word being associated only with "arts and artists", and think that, aesthetics is not something that they as a layman, or a common man should understand. They are oblivious to the fact that, the daily and almost mechanical process of dressing up after a bath is also an aesthetic activity; the drapes in your bathroom might have been a good purchase decision, but principally an aesthetic decision also.

We all have our personal whims and fancies and our preferences virtually seem to depend on our aesthetic taste. Even almost whimsical and sensible decisions are the result of an imminent aesthetic process. That is why one must know clearly, that aesthetic awareness is not the monopoly of artists and art exponents. It has to actually extend beyond the field of art and design and should reach the common people. The grocer down the lane needs to be as aesthetically aware as Leonardo da Vinci, not because he can emulate the great artist, but to objectively apprise the Mona Lisa. Also, who knows the grocer may be able to point out ten different things because of which he did not like the Mona Lisa!

There are several psychological barriers to our understanding and acceptance of the obvious aesthetic manifestations. Every culture and every civilization has certain peculiar preconceived notions, usually regarding religious issues. The connotations of certain symbols and colors are embedded deep within our subconscious. If the crescent moon and stars symbolize the Islamic way of life, a triangular saffron flag denotes a Hindu temple. Since the average person's color memory is very poor, such connotations help in his cognizance of colors. There is no better way to describe the rich, dark shade of green colour popular in Islam, than to mention its connection with the religion.

This very quality of having "aesthetics" in a work of art makes the work of art different from the things it represents. The artwork is not the substitute for the things it represents. An exciting work in literature or a popular novel is not a simple story. The simple story can be paraphrased, but the novel cannot be. The experience gained in a full moon night, at Taj Mahal, cannot be simplified and made communicable. This experience, which is actually, more penetrating, is something, which can be called as an aesthetic experience.


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