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Why Beauty Matters

Art and Artists


Philosopher Roger Scruton presents a provocative essay on the importance of beauty in the arts and in our lives.

In the 20th century, Scruton argues, art, architecture and music turned their backs on beauty, making a cult of ugliness and leading us into a spiritual desert.

Using the thoughts of philosophers from Plato to Kant, and by talking to artists Michael Craig-Martin and Alexander Stoddart, Scruton analyses where art went wrong and presents his own impassioned case for restoring beauty to its traditional position at the center of our civilization

At anytime between the 1750 and 1930, If you had asked educated people to describe the aim of how poetry, art or music. They would have replied, Beauty.

And if you had asked for the point of that? You would have learned that beauty is a value, as important as truth and goodness. Then in the 20th century, Beauty stopped being important. Art increasing aimed to disturb and to break moral taboos, it was not beauty but originality, however achieved and at whatever moral cost, that won the prizes.

Not only has art made a cult of ugliness, architecture too has become soulless and sterile and it's not just our physical surroundings that have become ugly. Our language, our music and our manners are increasing raucous, Self-centered and offensive. As though beauty and good taste have no real place in our lives.

One word is written large on all these ugly things and that word is ME. My profits, my desires, my pleasures and art has nothing to say in response to this, except "Yeah go for it".

I think we are losing beauty and there is a danger that with it, we will lose the meaning of life.

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