Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund


  • John MarenbonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1151-5_13-2


According to a “Traditional” view, there was a medieval aesthetics, which centered around the theories of beauty developed by theologians like Albert the Great, Ulrich of Strasbourg, and Thomas Aquinas. They argued that beauty lies in the relation between the form and matter of a hylomorphic concrete whole. Although they were writing in the context of beauty as a property of all things that exist, some of them allowed for different degrees of beauty in different things. Traditionalist theorists put these ideas together with material from technical treatises on individual arts (such as poetry, music, and architecture) and ideas implied by medieval artifacts in order to construct a medieval aesthetic theory. Recently, however, strong arguments have been brought to suggest that there was no such thing as medieval aesthetics, given that the connection between beauty and human-made artifacts, central to many modern aesthetic theories, was not made.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trinity CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK