For the angelic doctor, aesthetics is a very extensive and detailed aspect of philosophy. Though he does not pay much attention to it (he only cited three verses concerning aesthetics) in his work, The Summa Theologica, he tackles the philosophy of art in his life as shown in the exhibit held at the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences by Fr. Antonio Aureada last July 16, 2004. In this presentation, his historical background was publicized such as his family, the schools he went to, personal hardships on the road to priesthood and his numerous achievements in the field of philosophy.
In here we find his personal notion of beauty as expressed in his colorful adventures of his life in priesthood and his quest for the truth and human virtue through the help of relentless study and prayer. II. His Theory of Beauty – Integritas According to him, beauty has to do with a whole substance, rather than with a substantial form. He expounded on three criterion of beauty namely: integrity (integritas), proportion (consonantia) and clarity (claritas). “Beauty includes three conditions: integrity is perfection (integritas sire perfectio).
Since things which are imperfect are by that very fact ugly, due proportion and harmony (debita proportion sire consonantia) and tastly brightness or clarity (claritas), whence things are called beautiful which have a bright color. “1 Integrity means the presence in a structured sum total of all the parts which coincide in defining it as that which is. It is revealed here that it is a quality associated with something that is complete and uncorrupted. Beauty is the similar to goodness. Goodness represents desirability of oneself while beauty is what the people see.
Therefore beauty is that which is enviable as perceived by senses. Art in itself is extensive if it is sufficient to the ideas of its author. Integritas is seen in his life in the wholeness of his philosophies. His desirability to know God is seen in his moral philosophy. St. Thomas’ life and journey to truth and wisdom is a thing of beauty in its own way. His faith in God is considered to be incorruptible because he resisted all the possible temptations he had encountered during his journey to priesthood.
He was once tempted by his family to forget becoming a Dominican and accepting its desire for him to be a Benedictine. They let a female prostitute into the castle where he was staying for fasting and prayer, instead of giving in to the nature of man’s innate sensual faculty; he resisted and dragged the woman out of the castle. Not only does this resistance prove his determination to overcome temptations, but also his strong faith in God. Aquinas also discuses about the appropriateness of matter to form defined as consonantia. III.
Mutual Proportionality – Consonantia Consonantia shows us the relationship between things in size, quantity or degree; ratio; symmetry, balance; comparative part or share in any object. According to the Doctor Emeritus, there must be harmony and agreement in all things. “For beautiful things are those which pleases when seen (pulchara enim dicuntur quae plasen). Hence beauty consists in due proportion; for the senses delight in things duly proportioned, as in what is after their own kind because even sense is a sort of reason just as in every cognitive faculty.