Notions of beauty

Only one school of contemporary art has retrieved an idea of geometrical harmony, reminiscent of the aesthetics of proportion, and that is abstract art. By rebelling against both subjection to nature and to everyday life, abstract art has offered us pure forms, from the geometries of Mondrian to the large monochromatic canvases of Klein, Rothko or Manzoni. But who has not had the experience, on visiting an exhibition or a museum over the past decades, of listening to visitors who – faced with an abstract work – say “But what is it meant to be?”, or come out with the inevitable “They call this art?” And so even this “neo-pythagorical” return to the aesthetics of proportion works against current sensibilities, against the ideas ordinary people have about beauty. —Umberto EcoNotions of beauty  (Guardian)