Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

Aesthetics

  • John Marenbon
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1151-5_13-2

Abstract

According to a “Traditional” view, there was a medieval aesthetics, which centered around the theories of beauty developed by theologians like Albert the Great, Ulrich of Strasbourg, and Thomas Aquinas. They argued that beauty lies in the relation between the form and matter of a hylomorphic concrete whole. Although they were writing in the context of beauty as a property of all things that exist, some of them allowed for different degrees of beauty in different things. Traditionalist theorists put these ideas together with material from technical treatises on individual arts (such as poetry, music, and architecture) and ideas implied by medieval artifacts in order to construct a medieval aesthetic theory. Recently, however, strong arguments have been brought to suggest that there was no such thing as medieval aesthetics, given that the connection between beauty and human-made artifacts, central to many modern aesthetic theories, was not made.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

  1. Albert the Great. (1972). Super Dionysium de divinis nominibus (c. 1250) (ed.: Simon, P.). Münster: Aschendorff.Google Scholar
  2. Aquinas, T. (1927). Opuscula omnia, V (ed.: Mandonnet, P.). Paris: Lethielleux.Google Scholar
  3. Baeumker, C. (1908). Witelo: Ein Philosoph und Naturforscher des XIII. Jahrhunderts (Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie des Mittelalters III, 2). Münster: Aschendorff.Google Scholar
  4. Hugh of St Victor. (1961). The didascalicon of Hugh of St. Victor: a medieval guide to the arts (trans: Taylor, J.). (Records of civilization, sources and studies, 64). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Ibn al-Haytham. (1989). The optics of Ibn al-Haytham. Books I–III On direct vision (trans: with commentary Sabra AI). (Studies of the Warburg Institute, 40). London: Warburg Institute.Google Scholar
  6. Ibn al-Haytham. (2001). Alhacen’s theory of visual perception. A critical edition, with English translation and commentary, of the first three books of Alhacen’s ‘De aspectibus’, the Medieval Latin version of Ibn al-Haytham’s Kitâb al-Manâzir by Mark Smith A. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 91, 4, 5.Google Scholar
  7. Suger, A. (1946). Abbot suger on the Abbey Church of St.-Denis and its arts treasures (ed.: Panofksy, E.). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Suger, A. (1995). De consecratione (ed.: Binding, G., Speer, A.). Cologne: Vertrieb Abt. Architekturgeschichte.Google Scholar
  9. Ulrich of Strasbourg. (1987). De summo bono, II.1–4 (ed.: de Libera, A.). Meiner: Hamburg.Google Scholar

Secondary Sources

  1. Aertsen, J. A. (1991). Beauty in the Middle Ages: a forgotten transcendental? Medieval Philosophy and Theology, 1, 68–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, J. (1982). The ethical poetic of the later Middle Ages: A decorum of convenient distinction. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Assunto, R. (1961). La Critica d’Arte nel pensiero medievale. Milan: Il Saggiatore.Google Scholar
  4. Boulnois, O. (2008). Au-delà de l’image. Une archéologie du visuel au Moyen Âge, Ve – XVIe siècle. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  5. Carruthers, M. (2013). The experience of beauty in the Middle Ages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. De Bruyne, E. (1998). Études d’esthétique médiévale. Paris: Albin Michel. (Reprinted from with new introduction and afterword, both the Études of 1946, and L’Esthétique du moyen âge 1947, translated as The esthetics of the Middle Ages by Hennessy, E. B., New York: Ungar, 1969).Google Scholar
  7. Eco, U. (1970). Il Problema estetico in Tommaso d’Aquino. Milan: Bompiani. (2nd ed., with new concluding chapter, of a book first published 1956).Google Scholar
  8. Eco, U. (1986). Art and beauty in the Middle Ages (trans: Bredin, H.). New Haven/London: Yale University Press (a translation of a section, ‘Sviluppo dell’estetica medievale’ in Momenti e problemi dell’estetica, published 1959; Eco has published an updating: Arte e bellezza nell’estetica medievale. Milan: Bompiani, 1987)Google Scholar
  9. Eco, U. (2007). Dall’albero al labirinto: studi storici sul segno e l’interpretazione. Milan: Bompiani.Google Scholar
  10. English trans. The aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas (trans: Bredin, H.). London: Radius, 1988.Google Scholar
  11. Jordan, M. D. (1989). The evidence of the transcendental and the place of beauty in Thomas Aquinas. International Philosophical Quarterly, 29, 393–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kovach, F. J. (1961). Die Ästhetik des Thomas von Aquin. Eine genetische und systematische Analyse. Berlin: De Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kristeller, P. O. (1980). The modern system of the arts’ in his Renaissance thought and the arts (pp. 163–227). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Marenbon, J. (2009). Medieval and renaissance aesthetics. A companion to aesthetics (ed.: Davies, et al., pp. 22–32). Malden/Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  15. Marenbon, J. (2017). Umberto Eco and Medieval Aesthetics in The Philosophy of Umberto Eco (ed.: Beardsworth, S. G., & Auxier, R. E., pp. 77–94). Chicago: Open Court, Library of Living Philosophers.Google Scholar
  16. Maritain, J. (1965). Art et scolastique (4th ed.). Paris: Desclée de Brower.Google Scholar
  17. McQueen, D. (1993). Aquinas on the aesthetic relevance of tastes and smells. British Journal of Aesthetics, 33, 346–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Minnis, A., & Johnson, I. (Eds.). (2005). The Cambridge history of literary criticism II. The Middle Ages. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  19. Mothersill, M. (1984). Beauty restored. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Panfosky, E. (1957). Gothic architecture and scholasticism. London: Thames & Hudson.Google Scholar
  21. Pouillon, H. (1946). La Beauté, propriété transcendentale chez les scolastiques (1220–1270). Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen âge, 15, 263–329.Google Scholar
  22. Robertson, K. (2017). Nature speaks. Medieval literature and Aristotelian philosophy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rosenfeld, J. (2011). Ethics and enjoyment in late medieval poetry: Love after Aristotle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Speer, A. (1990). Thomas Aquin und die Kunst. Eine hermeneutische Anfrage zur mittelalterlichen Ästhetik. Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, 72, 323–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Speer, A. (1993). Vom Verstehen mittelalterlicher Kunst. Mittelalterliches Kunsterleben nach Quellen des 11. Bis 13. Jahrhunderts (ed.: Binding, G., & Speer, A., pp. 13–52). Stuttgart/Bad Cannstatt: Fromman and Holzboog.Google Scholar
  26. Speer, A. (1994). Kunst und Schönheit. Kritische Überlegungen zur mittelalterlichen Ästhetik. ‘Scientia’ und ‘ars’ in Hoch- und Spätmittelalter (ed.: Craemer-Ruegenberg, I., & Speer, A., pp. 946–966). (Miscellanea Mediaevalia 22, 2). Berlin/New York: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  27. Tatarkiewicz, W. (1970). History of aesthetics II. The Hague/Paris: Mouton. (translation of Historia Estetyki. II. Estetyka Sredniowieczna by A and A Czerniawki).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trinity CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK