Decorum. An Ancient Idea for Everyday Aesthetics?

Elisabetta Di Stefano

Abstract


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.

 

Keywords


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

Full Text:

PDF (English)

References


Alberti, L.B. (1980) De pictura. ed. by C. Grayson, Roma-Bari: Laterza.

Alberti, L.B. (1988) On the Art of Building in Ten Books. Translated by J. Rykwert, N. Leach, R. Tavernor. Cambridge Massachusetts - London England: The MIT Press.

Alison, A. (1821) Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste. Artfor: George Goodwin & Sons. Anastatic reprint Hildescheim: G. Olms, 1968.

Castiglione, B. (1901) The Book of the Courtier. Translated by L. Eckstein Opdycke, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Cicero (1928) De Officiis. Translated by W. Miller. London: William Heinemann Ltd- New York: G.P. Putnam’s Son.

Cicero (1952) Orator. Translated by H.M. Hubbell. London: William Heinemann Ltd/Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press.

Cicu, L. (2000) ‘Cicerone e il prepon’, Paideia, LV, pp. 123-162.

Croce, B. (1994) Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic. London: Routledge.

Demouliez, A. (1976) Cicéron et son goût. Essai sur une définition d'une esthétique romaine de la fin de la République. Bruxelles: Latomus.

Di Stefano, E. (2012) ‘The Aesthetic of Louis H. Sullivan: Between Ornament and Functionality’, in J. Gleiter (ed.) Ornament Today. Bolzano: Bozen University Press, pp. 64-75.

Di Stefano, E. (2020) ‘Archibald Alison e l’estetica del quotidiano? Una prospective neoestetica’, Aesthetica Edizioni Preprint n. 113, pp. 123-132. DOI: 10.7413/0393-8522018.

Dowling, Ch. (2010) ‘The Aesthetics of Daily Life’, The British Journal of Aesthetics, 50:3, pp. 225-242.

Edwards, A. T. (1944) Good and Bad Manners in Architecture: An Essay on the Social Aspects of Civic Design. London: John Tiranti.

Forsey, J. (2013) The Aesthetics of Design. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Greenough, H. (1947) Form and Function. Remarks on Art, Design and Architecture. Ed. by H. A. Small Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press.

Guérin, Ch. (2009) ‘Philosophical Decorum and the Literarization of Rhetoric’, in F. Woerther (ed.) Literary and Philosophical Rhetoric in the Greek, Roman, Syriac and Arabic World. Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, pp. 119-139.

Hopkins, V.C. (1951) Spires of Form: A Study of Emerson's Aesthetic Theory. Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press.

Naukkarinen, O. (2014) ‘Everyday Aesthetic Practices. Ethics and Tact’, Aisthesis, 1, pp. 23-44.

Parsons, G. - Allen, C. (2008) Functional beauty. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Perniola, M. (1982) Dal πρεπόν al decorum. Note sulla bellezza effettiva, Rivista di estetica, 12, XXII, pp. 44-52.

Plato (1982) Hippias Major. Translated by P. Wooddruff. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Pohlenz, M. (1933) ‘To πρεπόν. Ein BeitragzurGeschichte des griechischenGeistes’, Nachrichten der Gesellschaft der Wiss. zu Göttingen, Philolog.-histor. Kl., 16, pp. 53-92.

Quintilian (2002) The Orator's Education. Edited and translated by D.A. Russell. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Ringe, D.A. (1960) ‘Horatio Greenough, Archibald Alison: And the Functionalist Theory of Art’, College Art Journal, 19(4), pp. 314-321.

Saito, Y. (2007) Everyday Aesthetics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Saito, Y. (2017) Aesthetics of the Familiar. Everyday Life and World-Making. Oxford: University Press.

Tatarkiewicz, W. (1980) A History of Six Ideas: An Essay in Aesthetics. The Hague; Boston; London: MartinusNijhoff. Warszawa: PWN/Polish Scientific Publishers.

Trédé, M. (1992) Kairos. L’à-propos et l’occasion. (Le mot et la notion, d'Homère à la fin du IVe siècle avant J.-C.). Paris: Klincksieck.

Vitruvius, (1999) Ten Books on Architecture. Translated by I. D. Rowland and Th. Noble Howe Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wusten H. van der (2016) ‘Decor and decorum in diplomacy’, in V. Mamadouh and A. van Wageningen (eds.) Urban Europe. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Xenophon (1979) Memorabilia, Oeconomicus. Translated by E.C. Marchant. Cambridge (Massachusetts): Harvard University Press-London: William Heinemann.

Zimmerman, R. (1858) Geschichte der Aesthetik als Philosophischer Wissenschaft. Wien: Braumüller.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5866405

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

         

 

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

   This journal is open access and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.