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One of three C18 aesthetic categories, with the Picturesque and the Sublime. Edmund Burke, in his A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1756), perhaps the most influential C18 English work on aesthetics, especially in the 1757 expanded edition, did not accept that architectural Beauty was connected with proportions of an idealized human body, denied that there was any ‘inner sense’ of Beauty, and argued against the notion of mathematical means of measuring it. Beauty was a property which causes love, and consisted of relative smallness, smoothness, absence of angularity, and brightness of colour. Sir Uvedale Price and Richard Payne Knight held that the Beautiful had a smooth, undulating appearance, with no harshness, surprises, or broken lines, a concept which they applied to landscapes. Archibald Alison (1757–1839) believed that architectural Beauty of proportion was dependent upon an association of fitness of form, shape, size, and scale for the function. Apprehension of the Beautiful should be accompanied by pleasure, which Alison defined as the ‘emotion of Taste’. See Kant.

E. Burke (1757);H. Osborne (1970)

Subjects: Architecture.

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