John Keats

Today we’re going to meet another great writer belonging to the second generation of Romantic poets (he died at 26). When he was young he wanted to become a doctor but at 21 he abandoned medicine for poetry; thanks to that choice we can now enjoy his fantastic poems. All his life was characterized by his enduring and reciprocated love for Fanny Brawne. 

Here’s the beautiful love poem BRIGHT STAR you can also read in your textbookThe first video is the last scene of the movie when Fanny Browne recites the poem Keats had written for her. She had just been given the news of his death in Rome.

Let’s  watch the trailer of the movie about Keats and Fanny Brawne’s romance: Bright Star (2009) Director: Jane Campion Cast: Ben Whishaw (Keats), Abbie Cornish (Fanny Brawne), Kerry Fox (Mrs Brawne), Paul Schneider (Charles Armitage Brown).

AT HOME: Task 1Read A SHORT ACCOUNT of their thwarted love story.

As you know Keats moved to Rome hoping that the warmer climate would be beneficial to his illness, tuberculosis. The Keats-Shelley House  curator takes a walk through some of the rooms of the museum and explains why this place is so important. I went to visit it last February. One day, when in Rome you might decide to go there and visit it 🙂 

Another poem worth reading is the Ode to a Nightingale read by the actor of the movie Ben Whishaw.

As you can read in your textbook Keats believed in Beauty & the immortality of Art. His poetry claimed no moral or political purpose, thus anticipating the 19th century trend of ART FOR ART’S SAKE you have found in D’Annunzio & we’ll find in Oscar Wilde.

I end this post quoting the poet whose book of poems was found in Shelley’s pocket when he shipwrecked & died in the Gulf of Lerici.

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty’, – that is all

We know on earth , and all we need to know.”

To clarify what we said in class here’s a good explanation of NEGATIVE CAPABILITY. As Keats himself stated “Several things dovetailed in my mind, & at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature & which Shakespeare possessed so enormously — I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason”

ASSIGNMENT: either as a comment in Blog or oral in class: How much importance do people attach to beauty nowadays? What role does art play in your life? 

20 thoughts on “John Keats

  1. I will start saying that those questions, that bring two very important topics, are giving me a big headache. The first question about the beauty in our society is a great point to start my comment; beauty, always associated with a good looking girl or a landscape about tropical island or mountains, is something extremely subjective in my opinion. Everyone has in his mind different ideas of what is beautiful or not, and that’s why someone had clicked the button “dislike” under some videos of Taylor Swift(“just kidding”). Our idea of beauty is continuously influenced by the society where we live that cannot be so far away from a kind of manipulation: it’s not too rare to see some companies using the beauty of a top model (representing an unreachable perfection) to bring a lot of unsatisfied women to buy that beauty product (the same reasoning can be made with men).
    The second question, the role of art for me, has been less mind blowing than the previous one. I think that the arts (music, poetry, painting, sculpture, drama) had and are having a great role in my life for many reasons like understanding the world around me and also to define what is the real beauty. I have to say that my favorite one is painting, especially the romantic painting, with its sublime panoramas and the feeling of fear and astonishment. But in wide terms the perfect curves of the classic sculpture, the indefinite brush strokes of the impressionism, the strong feelings expressed in the Shakespearean drama and other countless manifestations of art are the greatest attempt of mankind to understand its feelings and to symbolize what can be the ideal beauty.
    Nowadays the role that art has on our life is getting smaller and smaller, in a world that is getting greater in terms of technologies and worst in terms of expressing feelings like in the past centuries.
    Something I really wish will change but that probably won’t, making mankind like an army of drones, without the capability of wandering in the unknown.

  2. What I see nowadays is that there are two separate front of view about beauty. Mainly in this last decade the feminist movement fight against the canonization of beauty and the promotion of the real and natural one, but is not only a female fight, also men are rebelling against the exasperation of perfection which is constantly use by the media. I think that the main fault are the media and, starting by them, this mind-set is spreading in the society like a virus. Against this way of thinking beauty, there are the people who think that beauty is the most important thing to purse their dreams. Many people are sure that beauty is the perfection which television or other media shows to them and so they want to be like other people just because someone in a social network write that that is the real beauty. There is a movie by a Danish author (Nicolas Winding Refn, The Neon demon) that shows the dark side of model industry using fictional and unrealistic events. But behind the fiction, after you finish the flick, the message that the Director want to leave to us is evident and one quote of the movie is the perfect summary of this side of mind-set : “Beauty isn’t everything, is the only thing”. This phrase is also an attack to the people who think this way and the director use it for provoking and to promote the opposite way of thinking.
    In my opinion, art is not beauty, art is everything that surround the man, because without the humankind nobody can say that a beautiful waterfall is art, instead the man can describe everything in this world and give it a meaning. This precise action that the human brain can do transform everything, also a rock in the middle of the desert, in a unique piece of art. There is also a current of artist that privilege the ugliness, just to stay in the Cinema sphere I know that mainly in the middle of the 20th century there was a front of Formal Ugliness that’s want the spectator to see beyond the visual aspect of the movie and understand the deep meaning of the piece. An example is the “Edipo re” a masterpiece of our neighbour PierPaolo Pasolini who gave us his particular ( and by me special) view of the Freudian complex using the old myth of Edipo. So to conclude the art isn’t only the visual and concrete form but the deep meaning that the artist want to give.

  3. When I first read the question, I immediatly started considering what happened to women during history and how their image changed during the continuous evolving of ages. Even though time passed by, in the storm centre there has always been a female figure, which has been the main focus of many scholars and experts on the field.
    The beauty of a human body has been studied in every single part since the first painters started developing their abilities, analyzing each proportion by researching a scheme which could lead to the discovery and identification of universal laws. Many Greek and Roman sculptors dedicated their entire lives to the arts, in order to elevate and highten their techniques.
    Thinking about the past years, painting and everything which was related to it was the highest form of art, that same art which was aimed to represent beauty. Appearance seemed to be the one and only interest of kings and queens who commissioned paintings to show to their aquaintance.

    What I personally beieve is that, sadly, this noble idea of art and the respect of human body, has been lost in the last years. We are observing the slow decay of the idea of “apperance”, and our real personality tends to configure itself in what we wear or how we behave. The difference between innser self and outer self is slowly vanishing.
    Speaking about women condition, which is something that is close to me as a woman, I consider it as a phenomenon which finds its roots in the abuse of our shape, aimed to gain more interest in the many products companies sell by using a girl body. I find so squalid and run-down those spots where a girls shows her curves to promote dental products, and this is just one of a long list of examples.
    But what concernes me the most, is the fact that many girls are not shocked or even moved by what I am saying, as the absence of respect for our body is claimed to be normal, an idea which is supported by the amount of naked girls we can look at just by leaf through a newspaper.
    Anyway, what I must tell to my girl friends and to everyone who is complaining about the use and abuse of woman body, is that if we are at this point, it is just because someone allowed big companies and social media to take naked pictures of her. Was for money or fame, I will never be able to justify the fact that a girl allows a man to use her body for something so dirty.

    I have been raised in a Catholic family with a couple of parents in deep love wth each other, which tought me how to love my neighbour and which is still an example of true love.
    I consider my mother as the symbol of the female figure, who never lets anyone trample on her. She tought me since my first years the difference between being a beautiful person and just being beautiful. Everyone is able to wear amazing dresses, buying the last pair of trendy trousers, but just someone will truly have an amazing soul. Being honest, willing, helpful, kind and empathic, are just a few of the qualities I consider prettier and very more charming than the last pair of shoes, because no matter what we think or do or wear, our young perfection is doomed to disappear with time, leaving space for wrinkles and lines.
    What we must focus on, are every person inner qualities. It is an hard process, as many are hidden in the deep of our soul, but by confronting with other people we will slowly be able to elevate ourselves and show our real personality.

    “It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; its the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.”
    David Allan Coe

  4. Unfortunately nowadays beauty is one of the most important aspect of a person. People use to judge someone not for him or her personality, but only for him or her appearance. The society judge how people dress, how people pose, but not how people are interiorly. This is the main cause of cyberbullying, bullying and other diseases of our society. We have to change our mentality.
    The society outlines standards of beauty, in most cases wrong, through social media. This situation creates several stereotypes that influence people’s thinking.
    Beauty is not only physical appearance: beauty is personality, beauty is character, beauty is originality and creativity, beauty is everything that causes you pleasure.
    Beauty is not perfection, perfection is a disease of a nation, perfection doesn’t exist.
    In my opinion we have to stop criticizing people by their appearance because it represents a sign of ignorance. It doesn’t matter what people say, words can not bring down anyone.

    In my opinion art is freedom. Art doesn’t represent any standards. Art is represented by music, by dance, by literature. I think that art is the best expression of the human’s feelings. Art is an universal linguage that connect people with different culture, different tradition and different religion. At the end I think that art is probably the only “thing” in this world that is immortal and eternal.

  5. Beauty literaly is defined as “the qualities that give pleasure to the senses”, this means that anything that amuses us, atracts us. But nowadays media and society push us to think differently. We are conscious of the fact that beauty is personal, but we don’t act accordingly. We are way too worried of apperence and people’s judgment. Not only young people aspire to conform to the idea of beauty advertised in the media, but even adults tend to look “better” hiding behind layers of plastic, trying to avoid old age.
    Beauty is still playing an important role in our lives, often taking the place of intelligence, but beauty has always been important: wars have been fought for love and beauty, poems and music have been written to celebrate beauty and its power.
    What changes with the passing of time is the idea of beauty, that is, what makes a person beautiful.
    Tiziano’s women look completely different from Picasso’s or Botero’s, and Kim Kardashian’s famous curves wouldn’t appeal to modern fashion designers, and yet she managed to promote them.
    Art is important in my life, I like painting, architecture and literature, and I really like some of the authors that I have studied so far, but my favourite form of art is drama.
    I like going to the theater, and get carried by the voices of the actors.
    A good performance has the power to take you to different worlds and escape from your reality, and at the same time you get to know different lives and worlds for a couple of hours. Even a good book can have this effect, but you still know that you are reading.

  6. I think that is impossible to define what beauty is, this word represent a subjective concept and can cange from one person to another. For example an object becomes beautiful soon as we can reconnect it to a personal experience or feeling which reminds us a peaceful moment.
    Nowadays we are sorrounded by medias and unfortunately they are trying always more to propose a general immage and definition of what an object/person has to be to satisfy the concept of ideal beauty. And sometimes their power is understimate.
    Art is specialized in beauty, observing a picture,a sculpture or listening to a song we estabilish an emotional connection whit that and we are able to find beauty in it.
    Art is how we express as people, is that thing that helps humans to communicate with others. Is very difficoult for me to express my feelings and I thought a lot before answering to this questions, I did a self-examination and didn’t thought how important is art in our life. Everithing can be considered beautiful and an artwork to me, because contains a piece of another person that he/she decided to share with the world.

  7. What is beauty? How can you define it? Well, maybe is exactly this that makes beauty, the incapacity of express it.

    I like reading, I like listening to music, traveling: I like looking at the sky when there are a lot of stars, I like staring at the sunset, walking in a forest, watching the clouds passing above me. All these things have something inexpressible, something deep that I cannot explain, a sensation, an energy that you cannot express with words but only understand testing it.

    You recognize it because someway it makes you feel the infinity, it makes you feel something that goes out of you, something extremely powerful and bigger than you. You can find it in an artwork, in a song, in a poem, in a book. All these things are beautiful because we recognize them as beautiful, because they touch us, they leave us speechless. Definitively, because they touch the deepest strings of our soul.

    And our soul is not something material. Our soul is made by emotions, ideas, by dreams. It’s the infinity in our body. We have the infinity inside of us and for this reason we are constantly pushed to look for the infinity around us.

    And this is the task of the artist. The artist sees the infinity beyond the mere appearance of reality and express it through the art. Art (all types of art) is what wake up our souls, is what can make us feel the infinity inside of us.

    Writing is my art. When I write I feel free. Writing permits me to have no limits, is the attempt to go beyond the limit of my body, to imagine and be whatever I want.

    This is the attempt of all the artists. Art is the attempt to overcame the human limit, to go beyond the death. The artist express himself in his works, he leaves in his works a part of his soul. And when he will not be there anymore, when he will be dead, his soul will continue to exist through his artworks, like he was immortal.

    This is definitively art: the power to be immortal.

    P.S. I would like to suggest you two artists that have always inspired me a lot. The first is Hayao Miyazaki, a Japanese director who made a lot of animated films, all great masterpieces that I love. The second is Rob Gonsalves, a painter who shows in every artwork scenes of magic realism.

  8. Beauty in our days is the one of the most importants characters as a persons with fame,instead it is subject of the major case of gossip or something else. Beauty could also be look like a symbol of perfection or trying to reach the perfection for being aprecieted by everyone. No one can prouve the perfection “am I” or “I’m more beauty then other people” because the beauty is a personal aspect,is different in each person. Nowadays beuty is tought such as slim or gym body,”good” height,great color of skin and more, but in the time,in particulary before crist, the idea of beauty was linked with a body with great curves beacuse was associated whit a person who had a lot of food and so it was symbol of well-off family.
    Now beauty people influence the choise of many teen-ager because they cuold be their hero and idol,so the teen change their opinions and their mode of dress because they want to be like their owns heros.

    In my life art is bit important beacuse my grandmather is a painter, so her hause is full of personal paint. I like watching and understand the paints and also to listen the cause of why she paint,what emotions convice her to draw like this and the choise of color…sometimes lights other times obscures colors. Everyone have a different view of the paint when we discuss over that.
    About what we have studed in art, I prefer the current of Romanticism because is more inspired above the relationship between the individual and the society,that is a sort of “emotional fight”.
    We can also associate art with music or poetry…they penetrate in our mind and change our vision of life.

  9. We can all agree that today the image has a great impact on someone’s immediate thought, much more than anything. I think that’s obvious and cannot go differently, since we have eyes and almost every media is based on viewing/watching/seeing every aspect of life.

    Beauty is a concept we have introduced, something that makes us criticize every object, as if we were born to say if it is beautiful or not.
    We can say that we like a book or that it’s terrible. But who actually cares if something is beautiful, ugly, good or bad?

    I think people judge things because it gives us some pleasure, some power.
    It is right to give a prize to a good book, since it is the product of a man’s mind, but is it right to give it to a beautiful woman? If a book is well-written is because who wrote it has read and studied a lot. Because he is talented. Because a person is beautiful, it doesn’t mean it has any inborn talent or anything good, nor it’s a product of someone’s hard work. Indeed, I think it is not right to classify people by appearance.

    That being said, beauty exists and there are a lot of theories about it. Once someone told me that beauty is symmetry, the romantics found beauty in nature, the classicists in proportion. The expressionists in colour and the futurists in motion. There is one thing that is common in all of them (and everybody else): finding beauty in what we love makes us empathic with the picture or whatever other art we’re looking at. It happens the same with cinema and literature.
    We tend to like a movie if we see ourselves in the main character, even if it’s a cartoon. I realized this because in almost all my favourite books and movies there is a female protagonist, often with my same interests. Another things I noticed is that these characters are not my exact copy but they have something more, for example superpowers or some abilities I would like to have.

    This is, in my opinion, the reason we give that much importance to beauty and we make the mistake of categorising humans. We judge the beauty of a group of women because we want to be like them, so everyone thinks they have the right to discuss someone’s beauty. I do that too, I think it’s normal and inevitable, but I also think that it is completely useless to our living.
    I’m not sure anyone can understand what I’m saying but I hope so.

    Anyway, art plays a big role in my life. I see art everywhere, 2 out of 3 bookshelves in my house contain art catalogues, magazines and paintings. I always liked art and what really surprised me is that it gave me a key to read my reality: this is something I didn’t expect when I was younger. It’s one of those things you are always being told but you don’t believe until you realise it after experiencing that side of life.

    We all can say that if art exists from the very ancient times, when humanity was born, there must be a reason. I think the actual reason of art is pleasure and communication. Any artistic phase is more focused on one instead of the other, then things change, so the view of art can be more rational or more sentimental, according to the time.
    Art is important for me and I don’t think there is much to explain. Arts are so deep that the options are, one needs them or they don’t at all.
    I think that the ones who need art in their lives (art for me is also literature, cinema, music…) are the luckiest, since they unlocked the brightest side of life and have something that brings pleasure freely, more than anything else.

  10. I think that we have to distinguish the two main types of beauty: inner beauty and beauty intended like physical appearance. Nowadays the two are very important to live well in our society, but in my opinion we should give less importance to outward beauty. Inner beauty is the most important because it’s how we are, how we behave with others.
    For example, when I meet a person for the first time, I immediatly judge her by the way she dresses, the body (if she is tall, chubby, thin, ecc.) and I start giving an idea of her inner beauty, even if I don’t have the right tools and knowings to do that.
    Unfortunately I’m not the only one that does this reasoning.
    Television, most of the time, chooses physically beautiful people, but not the smartest, the most intelligent.
    I think this is one of the worst thing that happens in our society, because television influences us in many aspects of our life and like sheep, we follow the wrong models television inculcates us. Not only television, but social medias in general are suggesting unreachable beauty ideas.

    The world is full of art and this makes me feel happy, because it means that people are free to express themselves and share their ideas with others.
    The form of art I appreciate the most is music. I love listening to what songers, and above all, singers-songwriters have to say, because I can elaborate their thoughts, learn from them and also disagree on them.
    Art helps people to grow up their personal critical thinking, when they are in front of an artwork they develop their own thinking with the tools they have: for example, they could do connection between the story represented in the work and an event happend to him, or in the world.
    When I listen to a song or I watch a painting I am transported to another world, because I try to identify myself with what I am listening to or I’m watching.
    “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” (Twyla Tharp)

  11. I wouldn’t be able to easily identify what beauty is, since I think it is extremely personal and subjective. We are obviously influenced by stereotypes, even if we sometimes deny it. But what we can’t deny it’s the feelings linked to what we consider beautiful. Beauty can be a sincere smile or laugh upon the face of a perfect stranger, kissing the person we love, hugging a true friend, listening to a special song.

    Talking of beauty, yesterday I end up talking with few friends about this topic and discuss about whom we considered as “beautiful”. What we realized was not just the fact that we all have different tastes but that we tend to consider beautiful someone who you wouldn’t recognize as perfect, because you see in his behavior and figure a sort of magic.

    I consider beauty and art extremely connected, as I look at art like something that makes you feel an emotion. I see art in every daily thing. I see art in the good manners of people and in their kindness, in the eyes of the people I care for. I don’t claim to understand art in every aspect of it, I just sometimes like what I see and appreciate it because it makes me feel alive. I strongly assume that you can’t explain emotions, and, in the same way, you can’t explain art. Some people say explanation kills art, because it is irrational, although sometimes you need to focus on the background of the artist, on his intentions, to truly understand the meaning of his work and the context in which it is situated.

    I see art in the books I read, in the songs I listen to and in the new ones I discover every day, in the painting or photographs I see in museums and in books. For instance, music is the most common form of art I am exposed to. Music can be consolatory and powerful, can make you think and cry, otherwise jump and make you feel alive.

    I’d end the comment saying that in my opinion life is itself a sort of art and anyone a masterpiece.

  12. Beauty and art remind me of a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson (who was an American philosopher, writer and also poet) that says: “Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art”. I think that it means that everyone has a very good taste in identifying what is nice for their eyes to see and what is not. But our opinion is nothing compared to the creation of beauty because that creation leads to something which is called art.
    Nowadays, Beauty is very important because we have to admit that the first impression counts. This is inevitable but we can do something about it! I think that the intelligence of people is not to stop at the first impression but to dig up and discover how the person is really like and i don’t mean only internally but also in some physical aspects that we hadn’t seen before, like the color of the eyes or other little details. Everyone is beautiful in their own way and for me that beauty is art. In these last years I fell in love with art and especially with some artists like Francesco Hayez or Sandro Botticelli. I think that art is something personal that people compare to their lives. The works of art may help to show another view and could make you think and discuss something you believe. The art of paintin is rellevant to me, but music, which is another form of art, is my confidant. I don’t have a favourite type of music or a favourite singer or band, I like to change, because every song is art and infuses something that is different from other songs. My music is my friend and I feel confident when I listen to it. Music makes me feel angry, happy and sad at the same time and I love to think that I have a place where I can feel safe and where I can be myself without anyone.
    ART is beautiful and BEAUTY is art so we have to respect them because they are what we are.

  13. Personally I think that there is a world behind art, every single detail could have different interpretations and people could express very different reactions in front of it.
    In my opinion art is the highest form of teaching, you could learn a variety of things from it. Also it is a form of consolation, most of the time something in which you could identify with, something that explain what you don’t know how to explain. Art improve also our imagination. I believe that art has a great influence on me and it is something I take inspiration from.
    The type of art that influence me most is music but also literature. I think that we must preserve art and educate young people teaching them the importance of it and how to select what we call “real art” from the other works made only for profit and success.
    The most relevant aspect of art in my personal opinion is that it develops and changes during history. Finally, art help us to create our personal opinion and to improve our critical minds.

    In art we could also find the real value of beauty.
    Many of us nowadays think that there is only one type of beauty that we pursue in order to appear and be accepted from the society, we have a misconception of what really beauty is. We always think that beauty is something exterior instead we must remember that it is even something interior. There isn’t only one concept of what beauty is, it is something subjective, we must reflect on it and eliminate stereotypes. We must forget prejudice, even if it could appear something impossible. Our world is full of beauty but we prefer nowadays conform with the mass and agree even if we think the opposite with what the mass says because we are afraid of the judgement of the others.

  14. I think that beauty has always been a really important aspect in society. When we meet somebody, the first thing we do (mainly because of our instict) is to judge that person by their appearance ,and automatically,in our mind we consider them as good or bad persons. This approach is natural, yet wrong if we want to create a bond with them and understand them. Nowadays we are sorrounded by medias and we use a lot of social networks that emphasize beauty and make it seem like the most important thing we can aspire to in life. This is totally wrong, because beauty is not only our appearance but also what’s inside of us,our personality, our ideas,our ambitions and so on. But, as I said before, beauty has always been an important aspect in society because people create ideals in their minds and,as we are humans and we want to feel part of the community,we feel the need to stick to those ideals. In our society this concept it’s only accentuated by the use of social networks and constant use of tools that can make everyone look perfect in few minutes(like some apps for our smartphones or some programs used to retouch photographs in professional contexts). What matters is going beyond this superficial view of life and nor idolizing nor discredit someone for their appearance,because ideals change and beauty is subjective. We have to believe in ourselves and build up our confidence.

    Art has always been a fundamental part of my life. Music is definitely the art form that influenced me the most and that has made me grow. I appreciate all kinds of music, because each of them make me feel different things and can lead me to reflections. When I listen to music I feel safe and I recover or gain strength.

  15. I think beauty is everywhere and everybody needs it even if they don’t realize it. Beauty is in every relationship, it’s in family, in friends, in lovers. Relationships are beautiful because they make us happy; I think happiness and beauty are strictly connected, when you are happy, you are beautiful.
    Everything that make us feel good is beauty, but beauty is subjective.
    I believe that “beauty lays in the eyes of the beholder”. There are things that are objectively beautiful but every thing we see and feel causes an emotion inside of us that depends on our personal taste and our experience that are all different from one another .
    I consider beauty important in my life because where there is beauty, there is happiness. Beauty for me doesn’t mean perfection, beauty are two eyes, it’s a smile, are hands holding other hands, beauty is a discreet glance of a stranger.
    Beauty is a girl in love, beauty is a mom hugging his child, beauty is my grandma cooking every day for me even if she is 90 years old. Beauty is where we want to find it, usually in the littlest things.

    And beauty lays in art. I find some movies, songs and books overwhelming. I think music is the most present art in my life. It’s a part of my life I feel safe, songs give me the right words and the exact melody to face reality, to feel pleased.
    Moreover, I enjoy the art I study at school; Ms. Giacomelli makes me love art. Art helps us think and know; I find some of the thoughts that lays behind some paitings fascinating, in some way they open your mind.

    In this way I believe that people nowdays are attached to beauty and it’s important for their lives because beauty helps us live better.

  16. Nowadays beauty is the most important aspect for many people because we are surrounded by media and social networks that emphasise it. We tend to look at several models or stars thinking we would like to be like them ’cause, maybe, life would be easier (like I have demonstrated last year talking about a woman who wasn’t accepted like worker by a bakery owner just because he thought she was too fat). This is a wrong view of beauty, ’cause you can be beautiful even if you are not a breadstick 😉 It is true that at the first approach with someone we judge him or her by his or her appearance but I agree with Carlo when he says that what happens after the first approach is what really matters, ’cause we start knowing the person and we have more elements to built up an idea of his or her personality, for example. A lot of messages are sent us every day talking about beauty but we have to learn to select them being conscious and saying “that’s not a good point to follow”. BEAUTY IS ALSO INSIDE US.

    In my life art is very much present. Music above all and sometimes cinema, literature and craft make my life a better life. I can not stand without music ’cause it gives me the strength, the energy, the power to face every day, every race of my sport, every single moment of my life.
    Art in general is important to develop our knowledge and our thinking activity, it makes us being avare of the situation of the world, our interior situation and also it makes us being ready to understand others behaviour and difficulties.

  17. I think today’s beauty has become a symbol of power, richness and wellness; it has lost the ideal connotation that it used to have in the past, for example in a work of art, in a supernatural character like a greek god or in an idea.
    Nowadays beauty (and by this term I mean exterior beauty) is often advertised and many people tend to emulate what they consider a role model without even knowing who the person in the photo really is.
    Besides, with the spread of social networks such as Instagram many young people have begun to take photos of themselves trying to capture the best pose or the best expression they can make.
    In other words, society is constantly trying to find a person that is much more beautiful that everybody else; however, many times we shouldn’t worry about others see us, instead we should focus on living happily and cheerfully.
    Every time I meet somebody for the first time I judge him by his aspect but I don’t fell guilty as this is, I suppose, a natural instinct of all human human beings. All that matters, in my opinion, is what happens after the first approach: many times the first impression is denied by the character and the intelligence of the person; these two are the most important aspects in a relationship in my opinion.

    I think every form of art, such as music and literature, elavate man from beasts, because they satisfy an intellectual need.
    I don’t think that a work of art conveys all its messages by the matter itself: the meaning of it, the themes and the view over reality must be searched deeper and I enjoy this activity of going beyond the work of art. Many times I get surprised by a new message that I had never met before and therefore I can elaborate my own point of view about what surrounds me.

  18. “Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”
    -Dumbeldore, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

    A bow of recognition from the most successful modern novelist to the magic that truly exists in the life of a Muggle, as well. That is to say, in the comparatively unimpressive lives of us who live with no apparent magical power at all.

    What we most easily seek in a work of art is a feeling of recognition. A quest for something in common or something we feel we can understand. The feeling of understanding goes far beyond our mere feeling of identification with a subject. We perceive even that which we do not know. An artist gives us impressions.

    It has been my belief since childhood that works of art are expressions of human thoughts that need not serious linking with the real world and need not a use or a purpose. To “use” a work of art would have been as meaningful to me as the uninteresting wish to eat rock (and I’ve heard there are people who have such propensities). But then, maturing through education, one realises the existence of educational, subversive, demagogical, cryptic and intimate and healthful implications of products of art. And one may as well find, as I have caught myself doing, that one feels slack interest in modern and “New Age” forms of art. The question then must be put: What is art and what do we personally recognise as artistically valuable?

    Authority should be shunned, avoided and ignored as much as possible when first confronting a work of art, I think. First-glance impressions, evoked thoughts and memories, glimpses of shapeless ideas that spring like sparkles in the split second of the first vision, all risk subjugation to afore given judgements. But then, one may not (it is almost impossible) reach any concrete understanding of the intentions and designs of the author without possessing essential information about him or her, epoch of composition, circumstantial but salient facts concerning either the author or his product.

    If personal experience be of any interest here, I would mention my utter lack of understanding of Byzantine art before grasping its core comunicative intentions and stylistic ideals (it is a current of art that keeps style in great estimate and allows almost no transgression). Also, I now know how poor my appreciation of Leonardo and Michelangelo would have been had I not learned about the revolutionary intuitions they introduced, about the sheer difficulty of their technical achievements, their original mentalities and views of the world.

    I would suggest that access to great art has a requirement of basic knowledge. But it is also a figment of basic knowledge that art is product of human minds and that its core goal is to reach other equally human minds. That should encourage us to consider, and reconsider, any proposition of human creativity. Personal refinement in appreciation of art can only come through conscious experience, interested study and comparative thought and discussion.

    Music is the main form of art that I enjoy every day. My interest in this field spans from hard rock to very soft and sobbing pop. I rediscovered the potency of a sincere rap lyric, the symphony of a complex metal song, the calming effect of a singalong, a jazz standard, an acoustic guitar-driven rhyme. Music is a source of inspiration and emotion, it alienates my thought process and puts me on imaginative planes of experience that can lead me to tears. A dark room, I find, is the optimal surrounding for attentive appreciation.

    In the art of painting I’ve noticed I enjoy a large variety of styles and currents, Romanticism and Naturalism possibly the most. The great tradition of religious painting (with Michelangelo at its top) is a contemplative enjoyment that every atheist understands very well. The implications of greatness and holiness that it carries are human (and only human, at that) products, and that is exactly enough. The art is the sublimation of religion, it’s spiritual dignity; accompanied with philosophy, its superation.

    It might be apt at this point for me to mention how grateful I am for my education, whatever its flaws and limits. The opportunity that my classmates and I have to learn about the highest moments of human expression, in art, literature and philosophy, is one that most of the people in the world never get to have. In the face of the sheer greatness and vastity of this opportunity, one might almost be tempted to protest against the time-wasting limitation of having to take Maths and Chemistry seriously.

    On a closing note, it strikes me as interesting to notice how sometimes people who profess interest in and understanding of art and literature just fail to report what exactly do they like or understand. One would think that knowledge of the arts would bring some refinement to the observer as well. Sometimes that is just not the case. More tragic even are the ones who are mesmerised by blank and colourless speech on art or literature and take it as sign of knowledge and understanding.

    Like stepping on a flower, dipping a hand in a perfectly shaped cake, burning a book, not having courage in love – tragic. 🙂

  19. I am surrounded by art, it influences me on a daily basis and everyday I rely on art in all of its forms.
    I think art is not uniquely for looking at and admiring; for example, when I look at a painting, a print or a photograph hung on my living room wall, I feel happy. Therefore, these simple varieties of art create a sense of joy and an atmosphere personable to me.
    Just like art, music can make my life extremely joyful. Sometimes it can have a huge impact on my mood and my emotions; for instance, when I am stressed, classical music helps me relaxing and calming.
    I also appreciate going to the theater, which is another form of art, or even studying literature.
    I consider art necessary in our lives and it is often something that helps us surviving despite our existence, which sometimes is not so good and positive.

    I maintain we all nowadays give an essential importance to beauty.
    Society constantly shows us some reference points which shape our perceptions about what is positive and what instead is considered negative. These often are unrealistic and unattainable images of beauty, basically impossible to emulate for many of us.
    However, I honestly find beauty pretty important in our lives. I admit that sometimes I judge a book by its cover, just because the appearance of a person is the first aspect that we notice at the first impact, but I don’t consider myself a shallow person for that; overlooking or discriminating someone for being not so good-looking is ignorant and shallow indeed.
    For instance, when you are dating someone, getting attentions from the opposite sex is fundamental, therefore physical aspect and attractiveness absolutely do matter. You cannot completely neglect yourself and expect people to be attracted to you, that’s being a hypocrite.
    Furthermore, I believe what first drew us to our girlfriends and boyfriends was exactly their outward appearance, even though there are many things more important, such as intelligence, capabilities, sense of humor, etc.
    And although we like using maxims such as “beauty is only skin deep”, humans attach much more importance to looks that we want to admit.
    Finally, I would like to end this comment quoting Aristotle: “beauty is a greater recommendation that any letter of introduction”.

    • I really appreciate your comment Enrico as it’s personal and drawing from experience. Nevertheless,I disagree with Aristotle’s maxim as I truly hope that there’s more than beauty when introducing a person 🙂 PS Help + infinitive “helps me relax”.

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