What does the term aesthetic mean? How many different theories and concepts are there? What can be classified as aesthetic? The primary objective of this study is to introduce the meaning of the word aesthetic and give specific examples of aesthetic in art from period of Symbolism. Symbolism was an art movement originated in late nineteenth century in France as reaction to Realism and Impressionism. The leading focus of Symbolism was to
“Aesthetics. Also called philosophy of art. Roughly, that branch of philosophy concerned with the creation, value and experience of art and the analysis and solution of problems relating to these. The primary topic is the appreciation of art, and major problems centre on what makes something a work of art” (A.R. Lacey, 1976 p.5).
Before analysing selected art works in more detail it will be worth introducing a few different definitions and hypothesis of aesthetics in art based on theories of well-known critical thinkers.
The first theory argues that art is an imitation of reality. The inability to represent reality flawlessly results in a piece of art being an imitation. This theory was founded and explored by Plato, one of the most renowned philosophers in the world who wrote about art in his famous book called Republic. Anne Sheppard in An introduction to the philosophy of art affirms that "... for Plato imitation is slavish copying, just like holding up a mirror, and that it appears to aim at making us take the imitation for the reality" ( A. Sheppard p.8).
The second theory represents aesthetic as an expression. Feelings, moods and emotions expressed in art have an effect on the quality of an art piece. An artist has to experience certain feelings to be able to express them in his work to move his audience. This point of view was introduced by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, the Russian novelist also known as a moral thinker. Ann Sheppard states that Tolstoy “…presents a simple theory that art is the contagion of feeling. The true artist both expresses and evokes emotion” (A. Sheppard p.20).
The third and final theory sustains that aesthetic is a significant form. In its meaning the most...