Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Line of Beauty and The Golden Section

When Kant maintains that saying that something is beautiful is a claim to an objective position that does not reflect the eye of the beholder, is he correct? The sceptic might say that if Kant had gotten out of Konigsberg more often he would have to admit that the ‘line of beauty’ is very variable.
line of beauty

Yet there lingers the doubt in the waiting room of challenged axioms: we do dispute taste. Might there exist an attractor that throws its shadow over the fluctuations of what is considered beautiful. Hogarth’s sinuous line converts the plain into the beautiful but he also admits that the uneventful causes the central experience to stand out. It is clear that fiction with too many effects subverts its own power. The line needs framing.

The golden section was first noticed by the Greeks but it was always a guiding intuitive principle.
golden ratio
It is the craftsmen who live unconsciously within a tradition that manifest the central aesthetic most clearly. This Chinese woodworker when he fashions and shapes his frame saw and moulding planes creates the curve of beauty. It is ergonomic too. Beauty works.
chinese woodworker
Scandinavian cabinet makers within a tradition of individual conscious design find harmony in more complex ways. Their rectangles are stretched and have to find balance in their negative space and the interior arrangements of the cabinets. The show cabinets of James Krenov can be uncomfortable to look at. There’s a tension that requires a complete explication before harmony is achieved.

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