“Beauty is truth. Truth beauty”.
This is one of Keats’s most enigmatic sentences. What does it mean? What did it mean for the poet? And what for me?
This is right the kind of statement that acquires a different meaning depending on the person who reads it, but its significance may also change during our lifetime: every experience that we make adds a brushstroke to Keats’s phrase, a new shade of colour.
In order to say what it means to me I would like to start explaining my concept of beauty. To me, beauty is something that takes your breath away. When I experience something beautiful my previous thoughts vanish and, even for just an instant, it is as if there is nothing in this world except me and the source of beauty. Then, the thoughts inspired by what I experienced dominate all of my mind. To me beauty is linked to the sublime (even if Burke wouldn’t agree!). Beauty generates feelings and emotions that are impossible to describe: it is like being awakened while making the most amazing dream of our life and then, being unable to remember it.
What do we see while we experience beauty? What do we contemplate? Truth! Beauty makes us aware of the world we live in. Beauty forces us to think and allows us to see clearly. People who aren’t touched by beauty are unable to experience that deep moment of reflection and so, they can’t contemplate the truth. Maybe what makes something beautiful is exactly its capability to connect us to the truth.
Truth is beauty because otherwise we wouldn’t know it.
Another thing that I want to point out is that people try to protect beauty and so, they preserve truth. Many people created something beautiful in order to share the truth they discovered with the new generations. Art is created to tell something to other people or to ourselves. Art is beautiful when it is true. It doesn’t matter who created it, the technique used or the historical period.
Both truth and beauty make us cry and feel like children. Art has the same effect because it is the daughter of truth and beauty.
Every time that our senses are filled with beauty it is like we are connected with something greater than us. Beauty is like a punch in the face, but after the shock we only perceive truth. On the other hand, truth is a key that allows us to escape the reality we live in. Escaping that world leads us nearer to beauty.
Truth and beauty are the pillars of the world. Everything is true, even lies, and everything is beautiful, even tragedies. Beauty lies also on Ugliness and Truth in Falsehood. Despite everything, this world is true and beautiful because observing it, escaping from it we create art, we create beauty in all its forms. Maybe we haven’t already seen beauty, the supreme idea of beauty, and we are also far from truth, the supreme truth. We hope that when we will die, we will contemplate it in Paradise or in the Hyperuranium. But the glimpse on Earth is enough to make us search truth and beauty because they are everlasting happiness, something superior we cannot catch.
For all the things I have written I do agree with Keats’s statement. That’s the best part of literature, of art, thinking about others’ works, being enchanted, contemplating the truth that they contain and wondering if it is the same (at least in part) that others saw. In front of art, we are alone, special and yet we are all the same.
““Beauty is truth. Truth beauty”,- that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”.