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  • Writer's pictureivanpili

Will Beauty really save the World?

The statement "beauty will save the world" is attributed to Fyodor Dostoevsky, specifically to his novel "The Idiot" (1869). This phrase, uttered by the character Prince Myshkin, has become one of the author's most famous and debated quotes. However, it's important to emphasize that Dostoevsky's concept of beauty refers not only or primarily to physical aesthetics but includes spiritual, moral, and ethical beauty, which has the power to elevate the human soul and promote goodness.

The idea that beauty can have a salvific or redemptive role is present in various cultures and philosophies throughout history. It is not limited to any one era or society but can be found in multiple contexts. Here are some comparisons that reflect how the concept of beauty and art has had a significant impact on the world.


Ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, beauty was intimately linked to the concept of "kalokagathia," the ideal of being both beautiful on the outside and good on the inside. The ancient Greeks believed that physical beauty and moral virtue were inseparably connected.



The Renaissance

The Renaissance was a period when art and beauty were celebrated like never before, with the idea that they could educate, elevate the spirit, and reflect divine order. Artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo sought not only to capture physical beauty and the human ideal in their works but also to explore and communicate deeper truths about humanity and the cosmos.


Romanticism

The Romantic movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries emphasized individual expression, emotion, and the sublimity of nature. Romantics believed that the beauty of nature and art could inspire profound emotions and lead individuals to a deeper understanding of themselves and the world.


Aestheticism and Decadence

In the latter half of the 19th century, movements such as aestheticism and decadence promoted the idea of art for art's sake, arguing that beauty should be pursued without any practical, moral, or utilitarian purpose, but simply for the pleasure it can provide.




Modern and Contemporary Art

In modern and contemporary art, there are numerous examples of artists who have used and continue to use beauty, often reinterpreted or challenged, as a means to raise social, political, or existential issues, suggesting that beauty can stimulate reflection, change, or critical awareness.

In summary, the idea that "beauty will save the world" can be interpreted in many ways, but at its heart is the belief that beauty, in various forms, has the power to elevate the human spirit, promote goodness, and stimulate positive change in society.







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