I had the pleasure of speaking with Enrique Loewe about beauty and ugliness in the solemn courtyard of the new Thyssen Museum, Málaga. “Embrace beauty”, he exclaimed from the podium of someone who symbolizes luxury better than anyone else in Spain. “Whatever you may study, whatever you may do, be sensible to the ideal of beauty that will transform your professions into a happy and creative exercise. Be demanding with your surroundings, proclaim your taste for things well done, hold on to what’s beautiful,” concluded he who in his own words “has given everything for the desire of beauty in design”.
The esthetics canon has been in constant evolution through History. While the women of the Renaissance portrayed wide hips and prominent curves, women in the 18th century quite contrarily sought to accentuate fragility which was considered romantic by taking only vinegar and lemon. Or what about the incomprehensible esthetics, to us, that are the giraffe women of the Karen tribe in Thailand. Or the teeth blackened with the ohaguru technique in Japan. While Japanese culture demands pale and milky faces, the European middle class has imposed a tanned sheen achieved after many hours of sun exposure in the Mediterranean beaches. Since classic times the concept of beauty had been associated with the discovery of the divine proportion, the number phi, enunciated by Pythagoras and other Hellenic mathematicians. Symmetry isn’t found in parity, but in the spiral evolution of the shapes based on 1618. For each unit, you add to the line a little over a unit and a half. This Fibonacci succession is recognized as much in the works of nature as in the work of artistic geniuses: Praxiteles, Da Vinci, Palladio, Le Corbusier. Continue reading