Beauty in the Twentieth Century – An Idea of Modernity

Beauty is widely defined as a mental attitude or mental state of an object that makes this object pleasurable to see. These objects may include sunsets, landscapes, beautiful humans and other artistic works of art. Beauty, along with aesthetic sense and art, is the most important theme of aesthetics, another of the major branches of psychology. The term beauty has different meanings according to culture and time. In general, beauty is defined as something pleasant to the human eye.


The twentieth century aesthetic theory of beauty is associated with the idea of the beauty quest. This quest does not have a solitary definition. Rather, beauty is described in various contexts by various authors with varying motives. According to some, beauty is the condition of life in its entirety; others define beauty as the reflective aspect of an object, others as the power of a thing to affect the beholder’s mood, and still others ascribe a purely psychological meaning to beauty. With the development of the concept of beauty in the twentieth century, several different approaches are taken to the question of beauty.

According to some, beauty is primarily a subjective state of mind. The object of beauty, whatever it may be, should make the beholder feel beautiful and to want to be with that object. For some, beauty is determined by physical attributes such as size, shape, colour, lines, and so on. For other people, beauty is a subjective state which can only be satisfied by looking at objects of beauty themselves. Still, there are some who feel that beauty is a property of nature, a standard that one can aspire to, an idea that one shares with all other creatures on earth.