“Beauty is NOT in The Eye of The Beholder”

Day 2

Writing For The Soul Conference

February 16-19, 2012

What is beauty?

That’s the question Barbara Nicolosi asked in her class, “A Beautiful Story: Why Aristotle Matters?” It reminded me of an argument that I had with a friend.

My friend disagreed that something was beautiful. It blew up into a fearsome argument where voices were raised and an uncomfortable silence took the place of camaraderie. She didn’t agree with my description of something made of wood and metal. I said it was beautiful. She thought it atrocious, even tacky.

Barbara said to see the beautiful a person has to have the “sensitivity (somewhat free of prejudice and fear),” “intelligence” (and my friend IS intelligent), and “imagination (to allow one’s history to combine with the artists’ communication).”

Then, Barbara showed slides of Mother Theresa, Christ on the cross, and other posts of creased, care-worn faces. All of us agreed that what was beautiful was not the appearance, but the heart or idea behind it—salvation, love, kindness, and generosity. Wood and tin by itself doesn’t mean it’s beautiful. Wood and tin put together to serve a greater purpose—God’s purpose—IS beautiful.

So I was correct in saying the thing was beautiful. Beauty, Barbara also said, is NOT in the eye of the beholder.

How do you consider beauty?


6 thoughts on ““Beauty is NOT in The Eye of The Beholder””

  1. Beauty is a quality that an object possesses in some degree, or not. It would be present whether any one was looking at it or not. Beauty is the sum total of wholeness, harmony and radiance in an object.

    The ability to perceive beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. Some people can not see the beautiful for the reasons you noted above.

    Glad the talk was helpful. God bless –
    Barbara N.


  2. Beauty to me, is always a reflection of the Creator. Whether it is the passion or creation or idea behind something, or something that almost everyone agrees is beautiful such as a sunset, sunrise, the light reflected on the water…..The reflection of the soul in the eyes of a very old and wrinkled face….to me it all comes full circle back to our Father who is the source of every created thing….A very interesting topic! Lori


  3. This reminds me of a post I wrote titled Beauty Deeper than Skin. There is most definitely beauty to be found in simple wood and tin. You saw what the artist/designer was intending—something beautiful, despite the rough materials. So, I think I disagree with Barbara’s assessment “beauty is not in the eye of the beholder”, because when something speaks to the heart of one person but not another, it can be.


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