Beauty: Archive of Week One Forum

Current Forum and Forum Archives

Welcome to a new forum (embedded in a brand new course) on Beauty. Post here, each week, your thoughts about the experiences you are having as we explore together what is beautiful, what moves us; what is not, and does not.....

What is "beauty"?
Name: Anne Dalke (
Date: 01/14/2005 16:45
Link to this Comment: 12042

As your first class assignment, Sharon and I are asking you to complete the survey @ What is Beauty? Collecting More Data on our Own Experiences and then write up one paragraph about your responses:

If you are so moved, bring something beautiful to class with you on Thursday.

Looking forward to learning what you find out--

First post...
Name: Brittany Pladek (
Date: 01/18/2005 14:30
Link to this Comment: 12065

Haha, I posted first, what a dork. :)
Anyway. Beauty. I've always had a very traditional, romantic, nature-based idea of what constitutes "beauty". My favorite artist is Claude Monet, and my room (both here and at home) is filled with pictures/paintings of nature scenes, particularly wood and seascapes. So I was surprised that, in the survey, I ranked "David" as the most beautiful picture (gave it an 8; I'm stingy), despite the presence of a few nice nature scenes. Not sure why I did this. It's a lovely depiction of the human form, sure, but I gave every other artistic rendition of human beauty a significantly lower score. They just didn't make my breath catch in my throat the way "David" did. I think it might be because I have an inherent respect for the *genius* it took to create something like that, and I find that type of genius inherently beautiful.
My other definition of beauty is a literary one. I love poetry/prose, words that flow together musically, or phrases that just "strike me." As with my more artistic definition, I also tend to gravitate towards literary pieces which contain haunting natural description, or at least, description that creates a visual image in my head. For example, Hopkins' "shining like shook foil" and everything by Yeats and Frost.

Name: Brittany (again) ()
Date: 01/18/2005 14:32
Link to this Comment: 12066

I misquoted Hopkins. How embarrassing... it ought to be "like shining from shook foil."

What I find beautiful
Name: Liz (
Date: 01/18/2005 15:12
Link to this Comment: 12068

I realized while taking the survey that I find nature exceedly beautiful. Everything is so simple and so complicated at once. It always feels as though there is some master plan to how all these things interact, even though it is clearly just the result of evolution. I realized that I also find expressions of the human mind beautiful. Salividor Dali is one of my favorite artists (along with other surrealists) because the painting show both a talent with a brush and the ability to express one's mind and thoughts on canvas. I realized that while I find people beautiful, I did not find those shown beautiful. This is because the people I find beautiful, most often use their body as a canvas to express who they are and how they feel. These people were merely aestically pleasing, not beautiful. To me there is a difference between the two. To be beautiful, I feel there must be something there to catch my eye, something unique.
I feel that this survey was a way is a useful way for us to evalute our own opinions on beauty. I do not think however, that it is enough for others to evaluate us on. I would have like the images of humans used to have been more diverse. I also felt soem of the images of nature were mildly repetative and to really get a sense of what is beautiful to us, there needs to be a large amount of diversity. There were no images of destruction, in nature for example. There is a certain beauty in that to some people.

Most beautiful or least ugly?
Name: Lauren K. Sweeney (
Date: 01/18/2005 16:13
Link to this Comment: 12072

I'm rather suprised at my own traditional, unoriginality in regards to the selections I made for deciding which among the images were beautiful and which were not. I said that Michelangelo's David was the most beautiful, ranking it even higher than the stars, which sort of made me feel guilty. How can I possibly compare the two? I then realized that comparison had a lot to do with my decisions about all of the pictures. I found myself thinking "Well, the statue of David is certainly more aesthetically pleasing than that dead-looking tree on the cliff, but can I really compare a man's work of art to one of the natural wonders of creation?" This also brings up the question, how can one gauge beauty if one has never experienced ugliness? I was fully aware that this is merely a test of visual beauty and I found myself making judgments about the images themselves rather than my prior knowlege of the subjects which they represented. However, the test said to comment on the images, so I did exactly that. However, if I were see the real statue of David in a museum and then go outside and see a night sky bright with stars, I'm not sure that I would rank the statue "more beautiful" than the stars as I did with the images of those two subjects.
These factors, along with my deep attraction to the aquamarine powder in class today, reinforces a new theory of mine that not only is beauty extremely subjective, I find myself attracted to, and more likely to call "beautiful" those things which are pure. The purity and intensity of the blue color of the aquamarine nearly had a hyponotic effect on me. I felt that it was the only thing that I could look at in the room because I might never see something so blue again. This fear that experiencing the color's beauty was delicate, a fleeting moment, may also have infulenced my thinking that perhaps something might be called beautiful if it is precious and fragile; the sense that one muct make the most of beauty NOW, because it cannot possibly last must work its way into my theory. So much to think about!

beauty can be ordinary
Name: Gwen Budinsky (
Date: 01/18/2005 16:18
Link to this Comment: 12074

The most surprising discovery for me was that something can be very beautiful but also extremely ordinary. In fact, oftentimes the things I wanted most to call "very beautiful" were the most familiar to me (being from northern California): redwoods, the Golden Gate Bridge, an ordinary man. I would have thought that I might value the more mysterious and exotic things as beautiful, but the two didn't necessarily correlate. I'll be interested to see further analysis of this survey and how the various factors are correlated.

Name: Marissa (
Date: 01/18/2005 16:52
Link to this Comment: 12078

I think that beauty is in things that are, well, I guess unexpected but natural is the best way to put it. The things I liked best in the survey were the things like stars. I like paintings with details you don't notice at first, like the one in the survey with the woman and what looks to be a cloud, but then you notice has human features. Even everyday landscapes that are done in a different style catch my eye, like pointillism, or paintings with parts that you have to find, like people hidden in the darkness or a river way off in the distace. I didn't like how the survey questions came in pairs. I was torn, at times, not knowing if I should make things even, for example, does a plus 2 on the beautiful scale mean it has to be a minus 2 on the ugly scale? I did like the wide range of things that could be considered beautiful, from sculptures and paintings to photographs or nature scenes.

My first posting
Name: Rachel Usala (
Date: 01/18/2005 19:23
Link to this Comment: 12081

I have a confession to make. I am a narrow-minded science-fanatic who is the target audience for the "Art for Dummies" handbook. This class is a little bit of an adventure for me. As such, it probably does not surprise the reader that I find science and mathematics playing hand in hand the most aesthetically pleasing marvel I have encountered. I love to see the academically fabricated lines of classification that are chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology and the like blur into one scientific orchestra. My second love is mother and child images.
From the survey, I found that my criterion for beauty was not necessarily works of nature: the image I rated the highest was the jellyfish, but I rated the flower garden scene lowly because it was too mechanical and too cluttered. Nor was my criterion for beauty human expression: I found the painting of the smoking woman in shadow grotesque while rating the sculpture of David highly. What I did realize, however, is that I have a fascination with light and how it effects my perception of beauty. The scenes I liked best, like the jellyfish with the light shining through it, were radiating with light, while the images I liked least, like the painting of the smoking woman, were in shadow. I think this is because I associate light with purity. Also, I liked light contrasted with dark, like both the starry scenes. I think this is because I associate it with purity (or maybe goodness) breaking through.
The survey’s data-collecting methodology was generally good: there were a variety of images. Nevertheless, it distracted me to see famous images like the David sculpture and the wilted clocks. I had trouble deciding if these were aesthetically pleasing or simply familiar. Our perception of aesthetics is, I believe, a cultured phenomenon.

What is Beauty?
Name: Amy Martin (
Date: 01/18/2005 20:49
Link to this Comment: 12086

I found the adjectives used in the survery frusturated me because they did not give enough depth to describe the intracacies of what I find beautiful or ugly. After a while, it started to bother me that the only way a picture in the survey could have "value" was for it to be beautiful. After taking the survery, I realized I differentiated between whether the image itself was beautiful or if the thoughts brought on by the image/processes by which the image was created were beautiful. For example, I'm not sure I think Dali's work is necessarily beautiful, but I think the idea of a surreal world and the way in which he conveyed that idea is beautiful. It also occured to me that I often found things that were both complex and simple to be beautiful. The pictures of nature/natural occurences epitomized that phenomeneon to me. I found the picture of the jellyfish to be incredibly beautiful because it captures a sense of fraility, of the beauty in what is "normal", of something complex and simple at the same time. It was both exciting and peaceful- I see these contrasts all the time in the natural world and that is one of the things I find most breakthtakingly beautiful.

Name: Alice Kaufman (
Date: 01/18/2005 20:49
Link to this Comment: 12087

I found the jelly fish and the space landscape by far the most beautiful of all the pictures, way ahead of any of the others. I agree with Rachel's comment that the famous picturse were somewhat distracting; I didn't know if I was reacting to the mystique of David or the image. I found the Dali painting challenging and inspiring, but not exactly beautiful. Unlike a few others have commented, I don't see beauty in terms of purity, though I also wanted to stare at the aquamarine powder. Most of the things I found beautiful in the survey were highly detailed and had many shades and hues. I didn't have an emotional connection to any of the more mundane pictures, so I didn't find those particularly beautiful. However, I can think of many very mundane, visually unremarkable things that I find incredibly beautiful, because I connect them to people I love.

Name: ()
Date: 01/18/2005 20:58
Link to this Comment: 12088

I find relationships and people the most beautiful. The complexity of human nature and of people captured in the simplicity of a photograph or a painting is beautiful to me. Images that seem relative to myself and my own experience are more relevant and thus become more beautiful to me.

What is the purpose of the survey? What is it supposed to unveil about the person taking the survey, if anything? I found that I could move through it quickly by the end because I realized that I was only really drawn to or moved by the images of people or something that had a more "human" touch to it. The images of nature or of the more inanimate objects like repeating geometric shapes didn't really do anything for me. I found that the survey, though it did not have a certain pattern or order necessarily, was possibly trying to reveal what each participant finds beautiful in general. Though this method could reveal some deeper meaning and insight into the person's character or personality, I think that it could also be effected by other factors like time limitation, mood, media, or environment.

Biases towards beauty
Name: Kara Rosania (
Date: 01/18/2005 21:43
Link to this Comment: 12090

I definitely think I have biases when it comes to determining whether something is beautiful or not. For example, my sister is an art enthusiast and has dragged me with her to countless museums throughout my life. At each one, she takes me around and explains to me what "good art" is and how I can spot it. She also familiarized me with certain famous art pieces. I found while taking the survey that I definitely was more inclined to call a famous art piece, or one that is "good art" according to my sister's definition, beautiful. I don't know if this contradicts which pictures I otherwise would have thought of as aesthetically pleasing, but it certainly might. And its certainly not true that just because something isn't a classic work of art, it's not beautiful. My point is, I think that a person's definition of beauty has a great deal to do with her interests and what she has been exposed to in her life. We all have instinctive reactions to certain things based on the ideas that have been instilled in us, and as a result, each probably have a very different definition of what makes something beautiful.

Discovering Beauty
Name: Danielle Marck (
Date: 01/18/2005 21:50
Link to this Comment: 12091

The concept of beauty is a unique and personal experience that every human being contemplates. Interpreting an object, person or art piece as beautiful involves the five senses, and sometimes one’s opinion on what’s beautiful can be swayed through the influence of certain combined senses. Beauty is complexity, vibrancy and impossibility. Those things which are most unattainable and most structurally complex are deemed beautiful. The on-line survey touches on this definition of beauty.
As I scrolled through the survey, listening to the radio, I discovered that each picture was affected by the type of music playing. When I turned off the music, those pictures that were once beautiful became ordinary, dull and quite boring. Sound and sight, as a pair, greatly skewed my opinion of beauty.
To those that designed the survey, it would be interesting to create a slightly different survey that played specific music while the participant scored each picture. When I decided to turn off the music, I realized that my opinion on beauty is quite specific and I found myself asking numerous questions about each picture in hopes to better make my decision on its beauty. I feel that because music touched such a specific emotional sense, each picture quickly took on a specific meaning. If all senses could be tested in the survey, the data might reveal a very interesting outcome. Beauty cannot solely involve one sense but a consortium of sight, smell, sound, and taste, are needed to delight the mind and heighten pleasure.

Beauty Survey
Name: Alice Stead (
Date: 01/18/2005 22:20
Link to this Comment: 12093

I find that I consider very simple images and objects beautiful. For example, I thought the Brancusi sculpture was the most beautiful. It is not complex in any way, but its simplicity is what makes it beautiful. The picture of the Golden Gate Bridge was also beautiful to me becuase it is a very familiar image to me and I have somewhat of a sentimental attachment to it.
As I took this survey I started to realize that we find beauty in things with which we can identify. This is why the notion of beauty is different for everyone. Two people may both identify with one object as beautiful, and then find that for another object one can connect somehow with it while the other cannot. I had never really thought about it this way before, but I think it is interesting.

Defining "Beauty"
Name: Alanna Albano (
Date: 01/18/2005 22:43
Link to this Comment: 12095

There are so many things in this world that I find beautiful...nature and landscapes are high on my clothing (such as an elaborately beaded dress or embroidered shirt)...both performing and watching dance pieces, such as The Nutcracker...classical music...the ocean, with its majestic waves, sparkling sands, and pretty shells...the human, when arranged artistically...color...quantum mechanics (an extremely complex kind of beauty!) you can see, my list could go on for quite awhile!

The survey showed me that I tend to find things of nature, such as flowers or stars in the sky, as very beautiful. Mostly any picture that contained a lot of light and color, and showed some sort of familiar or intriguing object, got a high rating of beauty from me. A picture that seemed dark, gloomy, creepy, or unfamiliar got a low rating of beauty. So it seems that anything that gives me feelings of happiness, joy, peace, interest, intrigue and satisfaction (like some of the pictures in the survey) is what I find to be beautiful. If something doesn't instill those feelings within me, I don't find it to be very beautiful.

The survey was suitable enough for the purposes it intended to serve, but it is by no means the only way or the best way to determine what people truly find beautiful. There are so many factors involved in defining beauty, and an online survey alone simply cannot measure or depict all of them.

Name: Muska (
Date: 01/18/2005 23:30
Link to this Comment: 12096

I noticed that while I was taking the survey, I tended to give higher scores to the pictures that were unfamiliar to me. I have seen pictures of the "David" and the painting by Dali so many times before that I've become numb to the aesthetic response it's supposed to arouse. However, I was fascinated by the images of the people and the designs that I had never seen before. They were very refreshing and new to me and therefore my senses were heightened when I looked at them. I'm not sure what that means in reference to my definition of beauty. Perhaps I'm drawn to exotic things that arouse a sense of curiosity in me, and therefore I classify these exotic things as "beautiful."

In response to the effectiveness of the survey in collecting data, I think the survey was fairly reliable in providing accurate information about the many different perspectives on beauty. However, I found the adjectives limiting. When I looked at a picture I felt as if I was confined by the words I was given. For example, if I looked at a picture of a color spectrum, I wouldn't necessarily describe it as simple, complex, mysterious, beautiful, etc. However, I felt as if I had to look at each picture through a certain vantage point because of the adjectives I was given. Perhaps giving a wider variety of adjectives would have been more helpful.

Name: Jaya Vasudevan (
Date: 01/19/2005 02:11
Link to this Comment: 12097

For some odd reason, tangible objects or the outward appearance of things in the world weren't at all the first things that came to my mind... So what exactly do I find beautiful?

Beauty can be seeing the inherent goodness that shines through people after they do a selfless, loving deed, like helping an elderly person cross the street. Beauty can be seen in the untainted innocence seen in children- for instance, (from my experiences in India) seeing children who live in slums laugh and play with a genuine look of happiness affixed to each of their faces has definitely been one of the most beautiful things I've seen. Nature and paintings are definitely great for the eyes, but what's beautiful about them is looking at trees, plants, the sun, stars, etc. and reveling in the insane complexity of life, or looking deep into paintings and discovering the message or feeling that what the artist was trying to convey in their piece. It can also be the look of passion you see in people's eyes when they're doing something that they really love. One of the things that I find very beautiful in life is being able to look at a mirror and be happy/at peace with oneself. I could go on and on like this, even though it all sounds horribly cliche, but oh well.

I definitely learned from this exercise that I find beauty in uniqueness (if that's a word)- one of my favorite pictures was the women with the trench coat that had a scantily clad (haha) woman on the back... the woman wearing the jacket seemed so nonchalant and carefree, despite the fact that the jacket was so out of the ordinary and different- and I loved it even more for that reason. The exercise also made me realize that superficial beauty isn't permanent- flowers wither, stars combust (eventually), and people wrinkle.

I can't say that I have any questions about the exercise, although it was an interesting idea.

First Posting: What is beauty?
Name: Liz N. (enewbury at brynmawr dot edu)
Date: 01/19/2005 08:34
Link to this Comment: 12099

This survey, like it seems was the case for many others, helped me create a sort of framework for what I considered to be beautiful. And, as with many others, the results surprised me. I don't know if it was the fatigue framing my mind that caused me to be harsher when considering the options, but I found myself weighing each picture with a critical eye. The traditional modes of art, with the exception being the David, I think I was less favorable towards -- primarily because they weren't my favorite artists. Out of all of them I found the nature scenes the most beautiful, and I think this was a combination of the pictures being dominated by soothing colors as well as having the weight of the entity 'nature' behind it.
It's interesting that most people don't seem to have considered the simple portraits of the girl and boy as fetching, or commented on their reactions to the painful abstract pieces. The former I thought were beautiful, not only because of the composition but because they, again, represented something else: women, men, and youth. As to the latter...I think the bright green geometric design, and the black-and-white montage were the most painful to the eyes. I hesitate at calling them 'ugly', though, for fear of raining on someone else's parade. Beauty is afterall in the eye of the beholder.

Name: Meera Jain (
Date: 01/19/2005 11:38
Link to this Comment: 12103

I have a very traditional view of beauty. I love Architectural Digest magazine, because of its simplicity, symmetry and bright, or muted colors schemes that blend together to create functional rooms with personality. The layout of the funiture blending with the artwork and fresh flowers and candles shouts out BEAUTY.
In the survey I just took, I realized I disliked the science, space and math types of beauty and loved the statue of David, because it is something I can touch and understand. The picture of the stars is beautiful just not on a computer screen compared to a garden of flowers.
Tangible elements are important to my concept of beauty, because without touching it and seeing it right in front, how do I know it really is beautiful? It could change (like the jellyfish could move and its position could become ugly) and then I might not like it.
I found the survey to be mundane, alot of the pictures were not on extremes of the scale, so I never used the radio buttons of "extremely beautiful or extremely ugly". I think it would be more effective as a data collection tool if the pictures were even larger so people could see the detail in some of them (the paintings). Overall, I enjoyed the survey.

Surprise, surprise
Name: Annabella Wood (
Date: 01/19/2005 11:52
Link to this Comment: 12104

While reading about "What is Beauty" I said to myself I am sure I know what I find beautiful-simplicity. Then I took the survey, and found that I was insulting a picture if I called it simple, and I loved the ones I thought general. So I asked myself again what I find Beautiful. And it came up that I enjoy, (i.e. find beautiful) complex outer stimulation and I enjoy inner simplicity. And now looking at that, it appears a bit like a recipe for confusion...or maybe not. I'm so confused!

Beauty and What it Encompasses
Name: Amanda G. (
Date: 01/19/2005 13:23
Link to this Comment: 12107

I find so many things different ways. I saw the Sistine Chapel this summer and was blown away by the overwhelming beauty, but I also find drawings that my little sisters do to be beautiful. I love photographs, of people and places that I know and love but I also find beauty in the unfamiliar. To me it's not a question of whether something is simple or complex or even the senses it uses, but about the emotion that something beautiful touches on. In that sense, even absolutely ugly items can be beautiful.'
This is the second time I have taken the survey and I believe that my reactions have remained the same for most of the items. The jellyfish, the tree overlooking the sea, and others really drew me in where the brown painting of the lady I did not like. I feel that a survey such as this one helps to understand beauty but certainly does not encompass the whole picture. Why did a person choose one object over another?

Beautiful Words
Name: Catherine Davidson (
Date: 01/19/2005 14:44
Link to this Comment: 12109

I find words to be beautiful. Wordsare so fragile. In many words, one changed letter can completely change the meaning of the word. A little change could send a strong message, depending on the word and the change made, and this change could have a big impact on someone's thoughts, feelings, or actions. People fear words, they love words, they dedicate their lives to the study of words. Words provide an efficient way of communicating. They allow society to progress. Words may be expressed differently in different languages but they really do not have boundaries, they stretch across the humanities and the sciences. They allow society to progress. Words provide entertainment. They are fun to play with- think Scrabble or Pictionary. Words can be seen and heard and they could be transformed into actions or emotions and felt, tasted, smelled. How simple yet complex are words.
After reflecting upon my evaulation of Beauty in the Beauty survey, I noticed trends in my responses. I found art with a human subject to be most beautiful, followed by the photographs of nature. The photos I found most beautiful, I also ranked high in the different categories tested, ugly, beautiful, ordinary, complex...etc. Maybe this means I find more complex and stimulating things to be beautiful.
The survey itself was very interesting. I noticed the photographs were all very different from one another, even when portraying a similar subject. Im curious to know why each photograph in the survey was chosen for the survey. I think a survey can be an effective way of collecting data for an experiment, however I think it would have been a better idea to have taken the survey in class, at the beginning of class before the survey was explained. I think too much explanation of a survey before its taken can taint the results.

About Beauty
Name: JiaJia Fei (
Date: 01/19/2005 15:19
Link to this Comment: 12110

Beauty is one of those descriptors that could encompass anything in relationship with the person who uses it. Personally, I have always associated beauty with what is rare. Something that is beautiful always carries a positive connotation because it represents an ideal. It also carries a powerful connotation because not everyone or anything may be able to reach this ideal. I also recognize that there can be beauty found in the ordinary, but I find that ordinary experiences are only made beautiful because of a rare certain emotion or state of mind that creates such a concept. There are always beautiful moments in life, but they are only made beautiful because they are not constantly occurring. Beauty may be associated with all aspects of life, physical or metaphysical, depending on who chooses to describe such an aspect of beauty. Above all, beauty is a personal experience, and something that only exists as an abstract word that humans have assigned to describe the simultaneous collection of our past experiences and our conditioned ways of thinking. I find it so difficult to assign any boundaries to the term beauty because it is simply a word that we have chosen to describe something that is personally special to us. It's also just a flat out fluffy word, like justice, that others have manipulated to describe things such as art to polarize public opinion.

tangled values
Name: Arielle Abeyta (
Date: 01/19/2005 15:33
Link to this Comment: 12111

looking at the different pictures i realize that what i might call "beautiful" isn't necessarily what strikes a cord with me. what i like seems to me to be beautiful but it's not when i think of the culture my favorite picture was the last one (the bikini babe coat) but it's not what i consider to be "beautiful". the word is so saturated in meaning - classic, striking, aesthetically pleasing, easy on the eyes, pretty, pure.
i didn't find many of the pictures "beautiful" - i think it might have to do with the fact that many were fotos of objects/paintings/art such as the david. that doesn't do it for me- it's too much a copy, a flimsy idea of the actual object. i thought the black and white foto of the man/boy was was beautiful-a human moment, the jellyfish- fotos of real organic things- the ocean, the golden gate bridge and the water.
it's so impossible for me still to know what i find beautiful. it depends on my mood, the things i know or feel about something, perhaps the light at that moment, simplicity or complexity i crave, vibrant colors or simple white, textures, objects, people, music, breathing- ever hear breathing as beautiful as an orgasm?
what a complicated thing. i suppose there are things that i generally find aesthetically pleasing but it's rare that i can extract simple aesthetics from cultural values and personal history. intricate tangles.

Name: Tanya Corder (
Date: 01/19/2005 15:57
Link to this Comment: 12112

Today was my first experience with snow, and I was awstruck by its beauty. However, I can not stand being outside when it is cold. It wasn't until today, being surrounded by snow and beauty, did I realize that it wasn't really that cold. It is crazy how stimulation of pleasing things changes our senses. For example, food tends to taste a little better when asthetically presented. Anyways, back to the snow. What I find beautiful in the snow helped me determine what I find beautiful in life. Snow is simple, pure, white, soft, fun, natural, and new to me. Taking the survey confirmed for me that it was these characteristics that I found most beautiful. Most of the pictures that I found beautiful had those characteristics. However, after collecting all the data, I think it will still be quite difficult to make any generalizations or conclusions about what characteristics people find beautiful. I doubt there will be any real consensus.

What do you find beautiful?
What new things did you learn from taking this survey, about what you find beautiful?
What questions do you have about the survey, what reactions do you have to it, as a method for data-collecting?
If you are so moved, bring something beautiful to class with you on Thursday.

Name: Beatrice Lucaciu (
Date: 01/19/2005 16:06
Link to this Comment: 12113

It is difficult for me to clearly define beauty. Sometimes I find things that are rare and exotic to be beautiful. Other times I may find beauty in the ordinary things I see every day. I feel that, on some level, something is beautiful because it captures my attention. Beauty can be found in the features of people, places, and things - it is not necessary that the whole is beautiful. I agree with what someone said about being so familiar with images of "David" and other works of art that it became more difficult to rate them exceptionally high in beauty. Perhaps that is why I found myself giving the highest ratings to the images of nature. I liked the picture of the Golden Gate Bridge not simply for the architecture of the bridge, but also for the fact that photo seems to have been taken on a sunny day. Above all, I liked the image of the stars the most for its serenity and purity. I really think that was the only one I could say I felt was, without a doubt, truly beautiful. I suppose that throughout the survey, I felt like I was supposed to be looking for a certain quality when making my judgments, which made it more difficult for me to figure out how I would define beauty. I really didn't like trying to pick apart the images to decide whether I found them to be complex, mysterious, etc. Doing so seemed to lessen their appeal to me. Perhaps it would have been better if the survey had started off with the 1-10 rating scale of each image, and then gone into the rating of aspects of the image. I can't help but think that there would be a difference between an individual's initial reaction to a picture and the ratings participants give them after being asked to differentiate between the different characteristics of the works.

Why are some things beautiful?
Name: Megan Monahan (
Date: 01/19/2005 16:22
Link to this Comment: 12115

While participating in this survey I realized that I had rather strong negative reactions to many of the pictures selected. I got the impression that the images were chosen due to their percieved beauty and they did not include pictures they thought would be seen by most as extremely ugly but I was quite unimpressed by several of the images. The scientific and simulated images were very unappealing to me. My least favorite was the green picture of geometric-looking swirls and I didn't care for the picture of the stars or the jellyfish (I think that's what it was) either. My most favorible reactions were to the pieces of art, I found most of them to be extrememly beuatiful. I liked how they seemed somehow sofer and less rigid than the photographs. I liked the ones of single people the best, like David, Nefertiti and the romantic painting of the nude woman but I was also very drawn to the gold religious piece that depicted a large group of people. I suppose I find the human connections most interesting because they are also so mysterious. However, I was less excited about the photographs of people. I like the interpretations better because they are so much more interesting to see the subject as the artist did rather than exactly as they are.

I think the survey did a poor job of selecting a varying range of images since many of them were in the same vein and they left many possibilities out. There were not pictures of older individuals, fabrics, or arcitecture (except the brigde) but what I am refering to are things like Notre Dame or European palaces. Though, I did find the survey enlightening since it showed me that I find little beuaty in images that are obviously pleasing to many others.

Name: Krystal Madkins (
Date: 01/19/2005 16:29
Link to this Comment: 12116

When I call something beautiful it's usually in regards to people, things in nature, and music. I also usually find very colorful and lush things beautiful. I wasn't surprised that I found some of the nature pictures not exactly beautiful because of the drabby colors. I found the bust of Nefertiti, the sculpture of David, and the jellyfish the most beautiful. Like someone else said, I feel like the popularity of some images lessened their beauty so I'm guessing that means I find the exotic and new more pleasing to the senses. I felt that the survey could have had better criterion...I felt like it was a bit reptitive.

Reality is Beautiful
Name: Rebecca Donatelli (
Date: 01/19/2005 16:38
Link to this Comment: 12117

As I went through the pictures the works that I found most beautiful were the ones that portrayed things that actually exist. I found the pictures of the hillside covered in flowers, the solar system, and people to be the most beautiful as opposed to the less realistic works that were to me just blobs of color. I found it interesting that the work of Salvadore Dahli fell somewhere in the middle. Perhaps this is because his work has realistic things portrayed in an unrealistic way. The statue of David and the Egyptian statue were beautiful in the same way the photograph of the man and the paintings of the women were beautiful. They all portrayed humanity in a realistic way.

Beauty Survey
Name: Tia Dutta (
Date: 01/19/2005 16:57
Link to this Comment: 12118

OK here goes. I find it really hard to define beauty. To me it is so closely linked to an inherent feeling, strangely enough that I have trouble describing as well. In everyday life I see beautiful things, but I have just realized that I don't usually give too much thought to exactly why something is beautiful- you know all the aspects of an object that combine to create something captivating. I have always just gone with the instinctual feeling.
I do really like people and I find many different cultures to be beautiful- for example ethnic clothing, dances/music, etc. I know nothing about architecture but I am drawn to certain buildings and even furniture. Sunrises, sunsets and things of that nature have always stuck out to me as being beautiful as well. Come to think of it there are way too many things to name.
I realize that everyones' idea of beauty and what constitutes it is affected by so many different factors but I am sure there are a number of commonalities. I am really interested in seeing/talking about the results tomorrow.

Name: adam (
Date: 01/19/2005 16:58
Link to this Comment: 12119

While I was taking the survery I realized that I found people to be the most beatiful items out of all of the things that we were asked to consider. I found people to be a wide range of things, not easily tied down to the categories of complex, simple, peaceful etc. because we tend to be all of these things at the same time. I think that I find the most beauty in people because people offer the greatest oppurtunity for interaction and fulfillment and comfort. I can describe objects such as flowers as beatiful but I would not recieve the same type of benefits that I would recieve from a relationship with another person, be it friendship, sexual relationship, teacher, comedian etc...I also found that I could find beauty in almost all of the objects. Although I found some objects more aesthetically pleasing, when I thought about it, I could find something "beaitiful" about all of the objects. For instance, on some of the statues that I found aesthetically unapealing, I could find beauty in the fact that human beings are able to express themselves through artwork such as this.

what is "beauty"?
Name: eugenia (eebs) (
Date: 01/19/2005 16:59
Link to this Comment: 12120

it occured to me (after taking the survey) how infrequently i use the word "beauty/beautiful" in my everyday speech. i noticed how anything aesthically pleasing was immediately associated with the word "pretty" and not "beautiful"; perhaps the words i used interchangeably for so long do have their own special connotations even if their dennotations may prove to be similar. so then, what exactly is "beauty"?

i tried to think about what, if anything, was just "beautiful" and never "pretty" or any other synonyms. i realized the people, and objects that evokes curiosity can be labled anything from "beautiful" to "pretty" to "nice"... but people and objects that conjures up emotions and memories are placed in a separate category of what is truly considered "beautiful". therefore to me, something holds "beauty" if i can relate it to more than one senses using memories. of course, memory is not entirely a true recollection of what exactly happened, but it has an ability to create a vivid image of something that impacted you with emotions... and emotions/expressions and the stories behind them are what makes something memorable and therefore "beautiful".

i think my perception of beauty (visual) has been slighly distorted after living in a large city of more than 17 million people and no plantlife. from the range of pictures i saw, i found the most abstract and modified pieces to be most beautiful (such as the golden gate and dali's work) and untamed nature to be the least beautiful.

i found the survey to be limiting in understanding whta beauty is. beauty has no boundaries and it can apply to all the senses... just not necessarily in the same manner. also the choices were limiting; it should have been more of a free response i think :)

Kinda late, but oh well
Name: Malorie Garrett (
Date: 01/19/2005 17:10
Link to this Comment: 12121

I did the survey a couple hours ago but I got distracted as I and want to do . . .
I find a lot of things beautiful. I like art and music a lot. One style I find particularly beautiful is Japanese and Asian art as well as the culture/lifestyle. I never thought of it till Tuesday, but I also find texts to have beautiful language. I'm not sure if I can pick a whole text and classify it with the word "beautiful", but there are defiantly aspects of books I find beautiful, mainly descriptions. I think poems can be beautiful as well. I love to listen to music, especially musicals. What I love about them is that both the music and the words can be beautiful and meaningful. There is something about the music in a musical that I just think is so beautiful.
From the survey, I learned that I think nature is more beautiful than other mediums. I found as a rated them from 1-10, that the nature ones seemed more beautiful to me than David. I also really liked the color square one. I found it beautiful, peaceful, and simple. I feel like I could stare at it for hours and with out getting board and in the end still thinking it's beautiful.
The survey was ok. Sometimes the words used to describe it were confusing, especially simple. Simple to me has 2 connotations, a good simple like the color squares, and a bad simple like something was forgotten. I thought the method was interesting. I especially liked that we looked at the pictures individually then as a group.

Name: Gilda (grodrigu@bmc)
Date: 01/19/2005 20:14
Link to this Comment: 12125

Hi everyone and sorry for posting so late—-I was just placed into the class this afternoon.

My notion of beauty is very non-visual. I like looking at paintings, sculptures, and photographs, and do find them aesthetically pleasing, but I get a lot less excited about visual art than I do about literature. I tend to use the words “beauty” and “beautiful” sparingly and when I do, I’m usually referring to a book, a poem, sometimes even a conversation.

That said, however, the survey reinforced my belief that, at the visual level, I find bright colors beautiful. Anyone who has ever been in my room, or even paid attention to my clothing, knows that. The first image in the survey, the squares of color, was the most beautiful to me. Other people have said that what they find beautiful images of people or of things familiar to them. Upon reflection, it seems that I am primarily attracted to brightness.

As usual...
Name: kat mccormick (
Date: 01/20/2005 00:07
Link to this Comment: 12129

On taking the survey, I found myself becoming increasingly concerned with the abstractions of what was shown- obsessing, am I supposed to judge the object in the picture? Or the image as an image? Or the motivation of the artist in creating the image? Or the effort put into image/object? My judgement on beauty of David is entirely different from my judgement on the image I saw of it. So the question becomes, how is the concept of beauty changed by the filters through which we see it?
Personally, I find that these relationships are the relationships that matter most to me: relationships between artist and object, between object and photographer, between photograph and observer- and the communication that is being attempted at each level.

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