Sometimes the beauty can be an act of defiance, or even an inaction amidst chaos. It can be a glimpse of what once was – that unique air of ancient glory, now long gone, or it can be quietness of abandon – a place; beautiful simply because it was left alone, and in its solitude, nature and anonymity gave it a different message, a place with no purpose – a forgotten purpose or one that had been served, long since finished.
One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure – it applies greatly to art.
Then again one man’s labour and ingenuity can mean another man’s woe, pain and death. Take weapons for instance, the craftsmanship, elegance, discipline and dedication behind sword making – there is a beauty there, in the craft as well in the result – the instrument itself is a thing of beauty, if only for man to complicate matters, for its purpose is ultimately a tool of death. Although some might bestow greater nobility in it, claiming it as a tool of defense, virtue and honour in servitude. Perhaps even something of an heirloom, something to be earned.
For me, the concept or existence of beauty, that can be construed as ugly, is in many ways a symbolism of hope. A hope that can transcend place and time and purpose… for what would the world be like without beauty? So when one can see it, or read it, in the most improbable of places, it instils that inherent hope, that there is light even in the darkest of places. That there is life, even when all you see is desolation.
Here’s an assorted gallery of examples of portraits of ‘Ugly’ beauty, just exemplifying the different faces of it, of how we perceive it, how we pursue it, because it is so changeable, so diverse – whether in a subtle message, a whisper, an arid landscape, or a fear and awe inspiring act of nature – beauty is something that cannot be harnessed or quantified, because it is not one thing – not in this natural and finite world. It is perhaps the one true signature of something beyond the natural, something elemental, but yet, something otherworldly, the signatures in this world that speaks vividly and subtly of a link, long ago severed, with perhaps a heavenly place... that this now is a distant shadowy relative of that place called Eden.
My pretty is like a sad song
with lyrics that make you cry
and a haunting melody.
--- poem extract "My Pretty", poem by Blankpages on Allpoetry.com
Until the end of the 19th century the goals of art were beauty and originality… The new theme was: Art must be a quest for truth, however brutal, and not a quest for beauty. So the question became: What is the truth of art?
---- >>> Quote - Extract from article "Why art became Ugly"
Poem by Mark R Slaughter
A field of flowers
Rousing under remnants of the dawn:
Out there! from death, I rose
Above the silent many –
A distant will-o'-the-wisp
Reflecting under airs of minor ninths –
How rich the ambience they threw!
What theme of prosody
Had rendered me? –
Tho’ silent were its words:
A broken soul in pulsing pain –
Thou mustn’t guess what goes behind
The sick and ghostly screen of war!
In sallow-grey and other ashen hues,
Disrobed of warming flesh
That reassures the bones,
A twisted pose
Portrayed my physicality –
Not unlike the carcass of a prey;
--- read more...
What would be ugly in a garden constitutes beauty in a mountain.
--- Victor Hugo
Nothing is beautiful, only man: on this piece of naivete rests all aesthetics, it is the first truth of aesthetics. Let us immediately add its second: nothing is ugly but degenerate man - the domain of aesthetic judgment is therewith defined.
--- Friedrich Nietzsche
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