This old house
is old and not very symmetrical.
I used to teach a course called Theory of Knowledge. During this course, students have to look at the hardest thing to see – things they’ve taken for granted. The obvious things in front of their faces. One of my favorite parts of the course was esthetics. There was little more entertaining than questioning the ideas of beauty, but also the widely held, completely non-critical idioms of our culture. Let’s try, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
In the case of the photo above, the most beautiful aspects are the fact that the hedge is in line with the bottom line of the porch, right below the bannister. I also like the matching windows on either side of the middle of the house, both upper and lower levels.
What takes away from this house’s beauty is the fact that the front door and the upper porch door are offset from center. Symmetry makes something beautiful. The other thing that really bothers me is that the lines of the house are shifting, probably due to the age of the house. I struggled to straighten the photo – played with cropping the photo – but realized, after a couple of minutes, that the lines of the house are not straight. The upper porch roofline is sagging and kept throwing off my eye.
Don’t get me wrong – I like the tension that creates. I also love old things and the shifting and off-center doors are a sign of the age of the house. Age can be beautiful. I do, however, think that there are certain rules about beauty, certain criteria to what is beautiful. Symmetry is one.
What are your criteria? And don’t be all politically correct. Be truthful.