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.


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