Critically Evaluate the Essay “Of Beauty” :
Francis Bacon was a reputed essayist, thinker, and philosopher. His essays reveal keen intellect and vastness of worldly wisdom. There is much suggest that he nurtured a strong fascination for public life and material advancement. However, he adopts an impersonal and pragmatic approach when he discusses the subject in his essays. He conveys his views with the typical detachment of a scientific observer making his essays formal and cold.
“Of Beauty” is one of those essays where Bacon gives a new insight to look into the quality of beauty and its advantages in life. The writer says that virtues are like a precious stone which looks best when set in a plain background. It becomes much glorious when it is found in a simple and dignified person but Bacon thinks that a very beautiful person is generally not very virtuous. It seems that nature was interested in making their appearance perfect and did not bother about making their inner spirit. However, there is some historical person who possesses both beauty and virtue in equal measure. These person such as “Augustus Caeser”, “Edward The Fourth” are exceptions because they got an abundance of grace, benevolence, and beauty. Bacon paints out that beauty of features is more attractive than the beauty of color but graceful movement has an age over both features and colors. True beauty has some strangeness in the proportions.
About paintings and portraits and which are works of art, the writer holds the view that they are the result of inspirations rather than the imitation of certain rules. Some painters paint a beautiful person by taking the best part out of different beautiful faces but these can please none but the painters. Beauty comes from the whole, if seen imparts or analyze every organ one by one, even the most beautiful faces will lose its charm and attraction. In this regards science has done great harm. Thus, a beautiful flower is anatomized and separated into sepals petals and poly grains. Thus, the flower is completely defaced and beauty is lost in this study.
The writer is of the opinion that a person appears more beautiful advanced in his age. Beauty is like the summer fruits that not easy and can not last as long. If a beautiful person is virtuous as well as virtue appears more and make a vicious person assumed of his vices.
The essay is remarkable for its brevity sentences are loaded with meaning. The characteristic Baconian model of balance and antithesis is a striking feature of the essay. Bacon sources a keen knowledge of the subject and a deep understanding of human nature. His command over and the abstract subject is noteworthy. Though Bacon’s essays have a strong utilitarians approach, some of them like “Of Beauty” and “Of Gardens” unravel his artistic bent of mind as well as aesthetic taste.
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