Aesthetics is a branch of science that deals with the study of the theory of beauty. It is the philosophy and study of the nature of beauty in arts. Aesthetics play a very vibrant role in our everyday life activities such as speaking, sitting, talking, eating, dressing, etc. The various senses together with the emotions like love, joy, hope, amusement help us in expressing our aesthetic feelings toward artefacts and expressive activities.
There are three types of theories in aesthetics. These are Imitation and Liberal Qualities, Formalism and Design Qualities and Emotionalism and Expressive Experience.
i. Imitation and Liberal Qualities: It focuses on realist presentation of the subject matter or an imitation of life or what one sees in the real world. It involves accurate representations of things or objects in nature.
ii. Formalism and Design Qualities: This theory of aesthetics emphasizes on the design qualities of an artifact. It focuses on the arrangement of the elements guided by the principles of design or composition such as balance, unity, proportion etc.
iii. Emotionalism and Expressive Experience: This theory of aesthetics is concerned with the content of the work of art and the nature of artwork to convey a message to the viewer. It stresses on the interpretation of the work thus the philosophical, cultural or symbolic meanings associated with the work. Emotionalism requires a strong communication, feeling, mood or ideas from the work to the viewer. This aesthetic theory is concerned greatly with the emotional feelings associated with the work. This could be fear, sadness, anxiety, happiness, hatred etc.
Though one or two of these aesthetic theories can be used in judging or criticizing an artwork depending on the type and purpose of the criticism, it is appropriate or best to employ all the three theories in the criticism of a work of art. This is because if one limits oneself to only one of the aesthetic theories to appreciate and criticize an artwork, some unique or interesting aspects may not be discovered that is why it is advised that the three theories should be implemented in the criticism of an artwork.
Aesthetic Training and Education
Aesthetic training or education is the studies or learning about our environment through the human senses with the aim of training our sense of aesthetics. This training takes time and is gradual for one to be an expert in aesthetics. This experience or knowledge about aesthetics amassed over a long period of time is termed as Aesthetic Experience.
Aesthetic Education involves how we apply the various senses effectively in learning about the things in our environment. This training largely comes about when we engage in practical activities in art such as drawing, painting, sculpting etc where our six senses are at work.
Qualities needed for Aesthetics
1. Awareness of the unity of the senses. The artist should be aware that all the six senses work together and will help in making better judgments as to what is beautiful or not.
2. Recognition that the senses are our only means of gathering information.
3. Awareness that sound, touch, lines, colours etc have variations in their aesthetic qualities.
The Role of Aesthetics in our lives
1. Aesthetics helps us to make better judgments or develop good taste.
2. It helps us to appreciate nature and our environment as a whole.
3. It helps us to pass good comments about an artwork.
4. It helps us to appreciate beauty.
5. It helps in developing friendship and understanding between people of different cultures.