Strictly when it comes to aesthetics must understand some concepts that were developed in the philosophy of the eighteenth century, such as the concept of meaning, fashion, beauty, harmony and proportion. In short Aesthetics born in the eighteenth century to explain the possibility of a knowledge gained by the senses in their contact with the ways of the outside world. It was a response to a gradual devaluation of the senses in the knowledge economy. However, consciously, we can expand these key concepts and anachronistically apply them to other times in trying to understand the motion of a historical thought that is for ruptures and continuities. Certainly anachronisms are always dangerous, but can be used for a comprehensive hermeneutics which seeks to merge cultural horizons. If the cultural horizon of Archaic Greece and contemporary aesthetics, heiress of the concepts developed in the eighteenth century. In doing so, they seek to understand the aesthetics and its arché or moment of birth.
If we look at the history of aesthetics, conceived broadly, we can see, in its origins, a change in an ontological dimension to an epistemological dimension. For Archaic Greece and the pre-Socratic philosophers, aesthetics can only be conceived in an ontological order, as for Plato and Aristotle, it is an epistemological question.
Classical culture has always conceived of as aesthetic beauty, but in its metaphysical sense, that is a reality that is deeper and more extensive than the own aesthetic and it is based.
Both comparative studies of religions and cultural anthropology tell us that knowledge of an orderly world (cosmos) was built through a pervasive dialectic between the sacred and the profane. It is an archaic ontology that depends on a sacred reality which supports a profane world. This reality came into existence through primordial acts of creation.
According to this ontology, history and linear time is of secondary importance. Sacred time is cyclical, the time of origins, sustains the world and its profound reality, a cyclical movement of deaths and births. Some authors consider that this worldview happened when the men became eminently farmers, reflecting the very productive structure of nature. Others regard it as an explanatory logical structure inherent in the process of signification, with an explanatory archetype, logos which gives meaning to the world. Regardless of explanations of their origins, the fact is that the myth is a form of truth-narrated about the sacred and the ritual necessary to gain access the sacred. Without this ritual the cosmos would collapse plunging again into chaos. Ritual is dangerous in itself, because through it, it contacts the sacred, but it also insulates and regulates the contact according to eternal and mandatory formulas, which, if not met, bring profoundly negative consequences.
The beauty or aesthetics, enter this cosmological picture as an expression or perception of order. Contemplation of this cosmic order becomes a very important experience for men in general and especially for philosophers. This is valid for both pre-Socratic as to Plato and Aristotle. It is in this contemplation that I can know the ultimate truth and the supreme good. This is the first and supreme theory in the pure sense and Greek term which means contemplation. It is then a contemplation of aesthetic nature. This ontology then comprises a whole in which aesthetics (beauty of contemplation), epistemology (theory and truth) and ethics (highest good) are inextricably linked.
While planning the cosmos can be detected in the mathematical relations, especially in musical form. Music education was one of the most important items in the education (paideia) of children and young Greek. The main properties of beauty are harmony and proportion, both possessing mathematical expression. Thus, in this metaphysical cosmos, art is subject to the myth, ritual and musical expression. Conclusion on their arché or inaugural moment, Aesthetics, and anachronistic in a broad sense, is a form of metaphysics. Art, then, is subordinated to other evaluative spheres.

Pythagorean Tradition
Pythagorean tradition – Originally the word harmony meant to gather or put together.



BATAILLE, Georges. “Lascaux ou la naissance de l’art », In: Œuvres complètes IX. Paris: Gallimard, 1979.

ELIADE, Mircea. The Myth of the Eternal Return: Cosmos and History Translated by Willard Trask. Princeton: University of Princeton Press, 2005.

GRASSI, Emesto. Arte como Antiarte, a teoria do bela no mundo antigo. Sao Paulo: Livraria Duas Cidades, 1975.

GUTHRIE, Dale. The Nature of Paleolithic Art. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

JÄEGER, Werner. Paidéia: A formação do homem grego. rad. Artur M. Parreira. 4ª Ed. – São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 2001.

Dr. Eduardo Cardoso Braga
October – 2015

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  1. The study of ancient Greek painting is problematic by two factors. First, to be only a few examples that have persevered. Second, the other important source of information, literature, was often produced after the works cited or described. There presents biographies, chronologies, and attributions of authorship that are not always reliable. Moreover, considerable confusion and disputes persist over the precise meaning of the technical terminology used at that time. An example of this is the word-painting.
    So we have some references for paintings and painters in the Ancient Greek Period, the timeframe from the 8th to 6th centuries BC. Names like Cleanthes, Ecfantos, Telephones, Eumaros, and Cimon are cited, but they are only mentioned as introducers of some particular technique. For example, Cleanthes was assigned the creation of the first profile. Cimon was said to have distinguished the figures of men and women with different colors. We can only speculate how their production would have been, as we do not have the images.

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