Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder?
The famous quote (most probably by Margaret Wolfe) which says: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is assumed to be true by many. But for sociologists, this quote may be partly true and partly false. In the commercial world of art, for instance, beauty does depend on the eyes of ordinary people or viewers but in the eyes of the art critics and patrons who determine what is beautiful and what is not, what is priceless or cheap in the art world of museums, auctions and art exhibits. It’s true that art can be subjective. It depends on the beholder or the person who sees and evaluates a piece of art. And since each person has his/her own culture and notions of beauty which s/he learns from his/her own society, judgments on what is beautiful or not vary across various nations and nationalities. But commercial art has its own subculture and notion of beauty where art critics and patrons reign supreme! These gatekeepers determine the standards of beauty and the price of art in the world of auction sales.
My Two Paintings
The world is indeed stratified and organized and controlled by power. What is simple is made complex by powerful people in the art world. Let us forget this for a moment and let me share with you my acrylic paintings which I painted a few years ago. After I finished my doctoral degree, my painting took a backseat in favor of a new form of art–sociological writing and research! But I do intend to resume my painting this year to express the beauty that I see around me.
Why St. Paul?
Call it a coincidence or a blessing. My teaching career in college after I left the Jesuit Order as a scholastic revolves significantly around one person, one saint–St. Paul of Tarsus, the great Apostle to the Gentiles. Why? My first teaching assignment was a college named after St. Paul–St. Paul College of Manila. I met my wife accidentally in a party who is also a graduate of a university named after St. Paul–St. Paul University Philippines! My first best-selling religious book in the Philippines was published by a religious congregation–not affiliated with my employer–is also named after the apostle’s name–Daughters of St. Paul. My current employer also bears the name of St. Paul–St. Paul University Quezon City, run by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartes (SPC). Indeed God through the intercession of St. Paul is wonderful and generous. With this, I was inspired to paint these two paintings on St. Paul. The first painting on canvass (2’X1.5′) below is entitled “St. Paul of Tarsus” and the second one is entitled “The Conversion of St. Paul” (1.5′ X 1′). I usually use acrylic and oil on canvass to paint subjects with religious or sociological themes. I hope you see beauty from it as a beholder. Thank You and God bless!
Photo Source above: Shutterstock
1. St.Paul of Tarsus
2. The Conversion of St. Paul