Aesthetics I

  • code 12301
  • course 3
  • term Semester 1
  • type OB
  • credits 3

Main language of instruction: Catalan

Teaching staff

Head instructor

Dra. Magdalena BOSCH -

Office hours

To make an appointment with the professor, please write an email.


This subject aims for the student to acquire specific knowledge about the origin, evolution and different fields of Aesthetics history; as well as the topics, vocabulary and classical debates of the discipline. The student will go through the main authors and their texts to articulate the thought on the main ideas of the discipline.

This methodology aims for the student to have a good knowledge of critical tools to understand and build Aesthetics history and think over fundamental categories transversely.


Pre-course requirements

There are no previous requisites



The subject's goals are:

  1. To know the history of the school of thought and culture.

  2. To know the fundamental periods of the Art and Philosphy confluence, as well as the affinities with other kinds of thinking.

  3. To understand the human dimension in the aesthetical experience

  4. To gain knowledge out of texts' analysis


  • E02 - Ability to use methods and techniques specific to human sciences.
  • E24 - Ability to present the results of research project in accordance with the standards of each subject area.
  • E26 - Ability to read and write texts in one's own language and other languages, as well as transcribe, summarise and categorise pertinent information.
  • G01 - To analyse and interpret social and cultural environments to identify need, opportunities, weaknesses and strenghts..
  • E23 - Ability to use computer resources and techniques to produce essays on cultural topics.
  • E34 - Ability to create educational resources in the Cultural sphere.
  • E35 - To acquire basic skills related to the management of financial resources in cultural organisations and projects.
  • E32 - Ability to manage cultural heritage conservation projects

Learning outcomes

  • To recognize fundamental ideas of the authors learnt in class and to be able to make a powerful introduction.

  • To understand Aesthetics' origin in the frame of its cultural context.

  • To build connections between different artistical disciplines in the frame of philosophical thought.

  • To know about the main debate on Beauty and Art carried out by the authors, artists, academics, philosophers and Art critics.

  • To recognize humanistical references from the past to understand their actual influence.




What is aesthetics?

The study of what is beautiful

An historical approach to the aesthetics



Theme 1. Beauty of nature

Nature reflecting the human soul

Nature as the face of divinity

The creator strength of nature


Theme 2. What is beauty?

Beauty and perfection

Useless beauty

Define beauty. History

The most sublime of what humans are capable

Experience, heritage, culture, concept

What no one sees


Theme 3. The human necessity of beauty

How it affects the spirit

The feelings towards beauty



Theme 4. Beauty, Truth and Goodness

Beauty and the good

Goodness as a condition to see the beautiful

Beauty and order

Beauty and proportion

Canons and rules


Theme 5. Beauty and love

Beauty is the object of love

Eros leads toward beauty

The universal harmony is a loving one


Theme 6: The aesthetical judgement

Judgement and interest

The right judgement

The mature judgement

The rational judgement

Judgement and taste


Theme 7. Beauty of people

Beauty of the soul

From internal beauty to external beauty

Beauty and gesture

First impressions

The face and the mask

Human face as poetical expression


Theme 8. Spiritual Beauty

The intelligent beauty

Reason and passion

Beauty redeems

The ecstasy

Beyond mere perception


Theme 9. Beauty and Freedom

Schiller: freedom in appearance is beauty

An internal law


Theme 10. The beautiful and the sublime

The origin of the idea of beauty

The contrast between two concepts

The romantic vision

The romantic comprehension of the Antique sublime


Theme 11. The form

Perfection is the form of some matter

The aesthetical pleasure comes from the form

The Gestalt school


Theme 12. Art

The creator self-conscience

The creator spirit

The artist

To create a work of art is to fund a world

The human dimension of art

The inspiration

Is art everything we call so?


Theme 13. The ugly

The meaning of the distance between the ugly and the beautiful

The function of ugliness on art

Aesthetics of fear

Teaching and learning activities

In person

a)      Reading of some key texts

b)      Text commentary

c)      Discussion of some examples

d)      Practical exercises of analysis and reflexion

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person


1. Compulsory Reading 30%

2. Presentation in class 20%

3. Work in class 20%

4. Final Exam 30%



1. In this course it is very important to make proper use of language in written tests, essays and oral presentations, both from the point of view of grammar and spelling and punctuation and wording. A proper use of terms specific to the discipline is also particularly relevant. The criteria to be followed before any of these errors is as follows: 0.25 will be lowered for misspelling or incorrect words in essays and exams.

2. Advice on plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use of material appropriated from another source or from other sources with the intention of passing it off as one’s own work. Plagiarism may take the form of unacknowledged quotes or substantial paraphrasing. Sources of material include all printed and electronically-available publications in English or other languages, or unpublished materials, including theses, written by others.

To avoid plagiarism, you must quote the source whenever ideas written by another person are used and even if the quote is not direct and is paraphrasing or summarising someone else’s ideas. In direct quotes, one must use quotation marks and quote the source. In an academic essay, it is not enough to generally record the literature used, but it is necessary to explicitly mention the source where ideas written by someone else come from.

Plagiarism in written essays for this course is unacceptable and, therefore, any work in which plagiarism is committed will be evaluated with a zero.

Bibliography and resources

BRUYNE, E.; La estética de la edad media. Madrid: Visor, 1994.

ECO, U. Art i bellesa en l'estètica medieval. Barcelona: Destino, 1990. 

PLAZAOLA, Juan; Introducción a la estética: historia, teoría y textos. Bilbao: Universidad de Deusto, 1991

TATARKIEWICZ, w.; Historia de seis ideas. Madrid: Tecnos, 1992.

TATARKIEWICZ, W.; Historia de la estética I. La estética antigua. Madrid: Ediciones Akal, 1987.

TATARKIEWICZ, W.; Historia de la estética II. La estética medieval. Madrid: Ediciones Akal, 1989.

VALVERDE,  J.M.; Breve historia y antología de la estética. Madrid: Ariel, 2011.

YARZA, I.; Introducción a la estética. Navarra: EUNSA, 2004.

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