Dürer, Albrecht - Portraits - Ideal beauty
Type of Spiritual Experience
Four Books on Human Proportion
Appended to the last book of the Four Books on Human Proportion is a self-contained essay on aesthetics, which Dürer worked on between 1512 and 1528, and it is here that we learn of his theories concerning 'ideal beauty'.
Dürer rejected Alberti's concept of an objective beauty, proposing a relativist notion of beauty based on variety.
Dürer believed that truth was hidden within nature, and that there were rules which ordered beauty, even though he found it difficult to define the criteria for such a code. In 1512/13 his three criteria were function ('Nutz'), naïve approval ('Wohlgefallen') and the happy medium ('Mittelmass'). However, unlike Alberti and Leonardo, Dürer was most troubled by understanding not just the abstract notions of beauty but also as to how an artist can create beautiful images.
A description of the experience