Decorum. An Ancient Idea for Everyday Aesthetics?

Elisabetta Di Stefano


Everyday Aesthetics was born in the 21st Century as a sub-discipline of Anglo-American Aesthetics and it has spread in the international debate. However, the contribute of historical perspective has not properly explored yet. Is it possible to trace the history of everyday aesthetics before the official birth of this discipline? I will try and give an affirmative answer by focusing on an exemplary category: that of the decorum. Using the history of ideas, I will analyse the Greek concept of prepon and the similar Latin concepts of decorum which express the idea of ‘convenience’ or ‘fitness to purpose’ in the ethical and rhetorical sphere. Later I will analyse the evolution of the concept of decorum in the theory of Ancient and Renaissance architecture (Vitruvius, Leon Battista Alberti). My goal is to demonstrate that in Ancient and Renaissance culture decorum is a category that refers to the objects and practices of everyday life but also a principle that regulates appropriate behaviour in the sphere of good manners. Consequently, given its pervasiveness in the different areas of everyday life, the concept of decorum can be a paradigmatic example to trace the history of everyday aesthetics.



Decorum; Everyday Aesthetics; Prepon; Good Manners; History of Ideas

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ESPES. The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics (ISSN 1339-1119) is published biannually by Faculty of Arts, University of Presov, Slovakia and the Society for Aesthetics in Slovakia

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