Essays

Beauty and Proportionality in Architecture

by C.W. Westfall

The highest honor a traditional building can receive is to be called beautiful. Traditional architects, and occasionally modernist architects, support their judgment with the claim that it is well-proportioned. When pressed, they invariably fall into statements that depend on ratios between whole numbers, geometric constructions that... More »

Aesthetic Meaning

by Peter Kellow

The question posed by any investigation into aesthetic meaning is as follows. I see this work of art, and I know that I like it; it gives me pleasure. But why does this feeling exist? What does it mean, if anything?

We have many different kinds of pleasure other than that which art brings. We enjoy a meal; we like to... More »

Beaux-Arts Atelier

by David Masello

The study of beauty is hard work. Although New York’s Institute of Architecture & Classical America’s Beaux-Arts Atelier is a rigorous academic program of architectural study, theory cedes wholly to practice. Nina Roefaro, a 25-year-old student at the Atelier, one of eight who are enrolled fulltime, describes one of her school’s... More »

Beauty as Symmetry (Part II)

by Robert E. Proctor

If I had to show through images Vitruvius’ understanding of beauty as both true mathematical symmetry and the appearance of such symmetry, I would choose Raphael’s fresco the School of Athens in his Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican. Raphael (1483–1520) portrays Plato and Aristotle equal in height and standing side by side. Plato... More »

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