What Is Beauty?

What is beauty? In Stendhal’s famous poem, “Beauty is the promise of happiness,” this concept is discussed in two ways: through the features of the beautiful object and the pleasures it gives its user. In both cases, beauty is a universal value, which can be assessed empirically and considered in comparison to different standards of beauty. In each case, the intention of the artist should be taken into account. In each case, the object or character chosen for aesthetic value should be a suitable one for the purpose of its creator.


Aristotle defined beauty as a combination of qualities that please the eyes and the aesthetic senses. Aspects of beauty can include facial symmetry, age, gender, race, body shape, weight, and even popular culture. The aesthetic qualities of a person can also contribute to their perception of beauty. This is a very broad definition, but it is essential that the aesthetics are the most important. The idea of beauty is based on aesthetic appeal and the desire to be attractive.

The classical conception of beauty is the oldest Western idea of beauty. It is reflected in the design and aesthetics of classical and neo-classical art. In Poetics and Metaphysics, Aristotle states that beauty is an arrangement of integral parts that create a harmonious whole. The most common form of beauty is symmetry. Order is definite, and aesthetic appeal is based on aesthetic value. These criteria are universal.