Aquinas on Beauty // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame
detect harmony, which is the gradation of qualitative relations in this series. The detection of proportion and harmony in a variety of things pleases us, because sunt, hoc ipso turpia sunt; et debita proportiosive consonantia; et iterum claritas. pulchritudo (beauty) manifests itself through integritas sive perfectio (integrity or completeness), debita proportio sive consonantia (due proportion of the parts. either a negation (unum) or a conceptual relation (verum and bonum), and one that follows upon every .. pertains to the cognitive power, and consists in due proportion, because “we call those things . Et debita proportio sive consonantia.
To be sure, the orders also employed secular architects during this period, particularly when generous local patrons played a prominent role in decision making. Yet architects from the orders could always help evaluate plans, fill in as construction superintendents, or provide designs themselves, particularly when funding was precarious.
This essay furnishes an overview of some of these men and their buildings across Europe from c. The first generation of Jesuit, Barnabite, and Theatine architects, active from the mid-sixteenth century through the early decades of the seventeenth century, generally had obtained their architectural training outside the order. These men with a background as craftsmen, such as the Jesuit Giuseppe Valeriano — who originally trained and worked as a painter, generally joined the new orders later in life.
In contrast to Valeriano and Grimaldi, Lorenzo Binago —the first prominent Barnabite architect, joined the order while young, at age eighteen. Yet Binago also seems to have had previous training in drawing or architecture, since his earliest known drawing—made a year after entering the order—is already quite accomplished.
Such early churches were often simple, since the immediate functional needs during expansion and financial constraints overrode wishes for more elaborate designs. By the early seventeenth century, the new orders had established themselves as centers of learning and education as well as patrons of architecture, constructing not only churches and convents, but also colleges and seminaries, hospitals, libraries, and other institutional buildings.
The consiliarus reviewed all plans for new architectural projects within the order, with his approval necessary before projects could proceed. The consiliarus commented on the plans, and when necessary, made suggestions for improvements—these were generally practical and economic in nature, rather than aesthetic. This met a future need for young men planning to pursue a military career, and was therefore included within their mathematics curriculum.
For these orders, architecture fit into a larger vision of the scholarship that priests would normally pursue, and indeed could be considered a kind of apostolate for the order. In this sense, when a priest designed churches for his order—or other buildings for its patrons, thereby also supporting the order indirectly—he was doing work that was part of his vocation as a priest. Yet precisely this success has obscured his origins within the architectural culture of early modern religious orders.
Guarini even officiated at the inaugural mass in San Lorenzo on May 12,although considering the dozens of early modern priest-architects, this was perhaps not quite the unique occurrence Rudolf Wittkower imagined.
SXC Guarini was so successful as a court architect for the Savoy that he seems to have had various assistants supporting him toward the end of his career. Documents mention a Theatine lay brother assigned to help him, although the records do not specify if this help was specifically architectural, or simply general logistic assistance.
These draftsmen seem to have been secular architects hired by the patron to assist the priest busy with numerous publication projects as well as other duties beyond the building site.
Indeed, right up to the end of his life, Guarini remained a scholar: Had he lived longer, he may well have written the theology textbook, a Cursum scholasticae theologia, which he had intended to write at least since his time in Paris in the s. Through the international ministries and missions of their orders, they often traveled extensively, spreading as well as gathering architectural ideas all along the way.
The Spanish Cistercian Juan Bautista Caramuel y Lobkowitz — was a polymath who published works in diverse disciplines and traveled extensively throughout Europe; he became bishop of Vigevano in Lombardy in He directed the Jesuit college in Antwerp with its famous mathematical studies, and he also designed the splendid Jesuit church in Antwerp -St. Charles Borromeotogether with the lay brother Pieter Huyssens - who took over the project after his death.
Facade of Jesuit Church, Antwerp completedprint of The pilgrimage chapel at Telgte - in northwest Germany furnishes an example of such an oversight. Although gradually supplanted by academically trained priest-architects, lay brothers in the various religious orders continued to be active as architects and construction superintendents into the eighteenth century, although most of these men—lacking the formal education of priests—came from families already engaged in the building trades or other crafts.
A few of these lay brother-architects achieved particular distinction. But he also was a prolific architect, designing churches in Dubrovnik, Ljubljana, Trent, and Montepulciano, among others. Perhaps inspired by the erudite publications of his more learned priest colleagues, Pozzo published his influential treatise Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum 2 vols. His younger brother Giuseppe Pozzo worked as a lay brother artist of the Discalced Carmelite order in various churches in Venice.
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington. Caspar Moosbrugger - was a Benedictine lay brother from a family active in the building trades in the Vorarlberg region around Bregenz in western Austria, one of the dynasties comprising the so-called Vorarlberger school of architects and craftsmen.
Moosbrugger trained and then worked as a stonemason until entering the order inaround which time he began taking on the responsibilities of an architect. Moosbrugger designed numerous churches and monasteries in Switzerland, the most famous of which is the Benedictine Abbey Church of Einsiedeln where he spent most of his life.
The ground has indeed often been plowed. Those interested in the topics of the six chapters will find many directions for research in the notes, the chief value of the current text. Sevier includes not only work on Aquinas, but also occasionally mentions the work of other thinkers who have dealt with the topics in question.
In his Introduction Sevier notes the paucity of texts in Aquinas dealing with sensory beauty and the more ample focus, through commentary on Dionysius, upon divine beauty.
The latter appears in the fifth chapter. People dealing with aesthetics today are more focused on sensory-based beauty and, like Kant, find any other usage metaphorical. They will find little to appreciate on sensory beauty in this book.
Sevier notes the few things Aquinas has said about beauty, especially the definition as "that which, when seen, pleases" and the properties of "integrity, proportion, and clarity. Sevier approaches the topics devoted to Aquinas' psychology in chapters 2 and 3 "Psychological Components of Beauty" and "Human Desire and Pleasure".
The second chapter, on human psychology, begins with a quotation from Aquinas on goodness and beauty.What Is a Proportional Relationship Between Two Variables in Math Called?
Both are related to form: Aesthetic perception is possible because of the presence of both intellect and visual capacity, and, as in Kant, presents a distinctively human operation not shared by either animals or angels. The human intellect, following Aristotle, is essentially and not accidentally incarnate. Intellectual activity always has its roots in organized sensory experience expressed in "phantasms" or modes of appearance developed over time in the perceiver. Because of this, "man alone takes pleasure in the beauty of sensible objects for its own sake.
Sevier notes that Aquinas distinguishes desire and appetite and then goes on to say that he uses appetitus for both desiderium that is the movement toward the object and amor, which initiates action. Pleasure arises as a byproduct. There is both sensory and intellectual appetitus, with the former divided into concupiscible and irascible. What gives a person pleasure is an indication of the kind of being one is. What does distinguish them is that, contrary to the pleasures of the senses, which disappear once the object is obtained, the pleasure of spiritual love increases through the possession of the object.
The more pleasure in rational activity, the greater the attention to the object.
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Love applies both to concupiscible and rational desire, the latter of which is termed dilectio and implies a choice. Aquinas assesses traditional notions of pleasure: Sevier renders the latter as "fine or beautiful.
He will consider that more extensively in the fifth chapter. Sevier returns to the notion of proportion between the thing and the faculty. He regards it as "the recognition of the intrinsic goodness or the degree of perfection of that object compared to its ideal or archetype, and cognized under the aspect of the visible.
As noted in Augustine, "seeing" is a metaphor for all cognitive states. Beauty adds to the good the relation to cognition. Like wisdom in Ecclesiasticus, it is sought for its own sake. Aquinas surprisingly places it under modesty, for which Sevier gives no explanation.
One wonders if these are the same property with different terms. The two notions of beauty involved have an ancient pedigree. The aesthetics of light has a special place in Plotinus. For him, not all beautiful objects are proportionate, like light and color.