At any time, if you had asked an educated person to describe the goal of poetry, art, or music, - “beauty” would have been the answer. And if you had asked what the point of that was, you would have learned that beauty is a value, as important in its way as truth and goodness, and indeed hardly distinguishable from them. Philosophers of the Enlightenment saw beauty as a way in which lasting moral and spiritual values acquire sensuous form. And no Romantic painter, musician, or writer would have denied that beauty was the final purpose of his art.
At some time during the aftermath of modernism, beauty ceased to receive those tributes. Art increasingly aimed to disturb, subvert, or transgress moral certainties, and it was not beauty but originality – however achieved and at whatever moral cost – that won the prizes. Indeed, there arose a widespread suspicion of beauty as next in line to kitsch – something too sweet and inoffensive for the serious modern artist to pursue.
Look at any picture by one of the great landscape painters – Poussin, Guardi, Turner, Corot, Cézanne – and you will see that idea of beauty celebrated and fixed in images. The art of landscape painting, as it arose in the seventeenth century and endured into our time, is devoted to moralizing nature and showing the place of human freedom in the scheme of things.
Roger Scruton. "Beauty and Desecration."
1993 year, Oil x Canvas, St. Petersburg, signed as Y. Gribanovsky
George Grie, July 1993
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