On the Standard of Taste

As sculptors, our ability to recognize beauty is seldom questioned. It’s assumed that we operate on a different frequency, that we’re attuned to this world in a way that few others are. While the casual passerby might marvel at David’s size, or the way in which his presence commands the eye of all who enter the Galleria dell’Accademia, the sculptor recognizes the contrapposto pose, the enlargement of the head and hands for the sake

of perspective (the statue was originally to be placed atop the cathedral roofline), and the slenderness of the piece from front to back—a distinguishing characteristic somewhat atypical of Michelangelo’s previous work. We see beauty in Michelangelo’s David because we understand it; we know what it’s like to fashion something with our hands, relying solely upon our mind’s eye for guidance.

But does our understanding and recognition of beauty transcend our appreciation of sculpture? Can we, with little if any foreknowledge of photography, recognize the mastery of Ansel Adams? Can we, with equally limited knowledge of literature, fully appreciate Cormac McCarthy’s artfully minimalistic prose in his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Road? Read this article and ask yourself: “Do I take the time to recognize beauty in all of its forms?”

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