To simplify what Hegel claimed – the highest aesthetical beauty is a combination of content and expression that point towards a divine (Christian God).
This week I saw a natural size sculpture of a woman in Deptford Town Hall. The sculpture is made out of metal. However, the way it is done it reminds an unfinished clay sculpture that the creator did not have the time to smoothen and finalise. Her face is realistic with slightly raised eyebrows and tightly locked lips. Shoulders are slightly too low and breasts – a bit too big. The combination of lowered shoulders, raised eyebrows and motionless face create an impression of a hard-working tired woman. It seems that she has no more energy and just sits and waits here.
Hegel would probably not classify this sculpture as of the highest aesthetic standard. There is a lack of perfection in her being. The way how the sculpture is made, imperfect proportions, over-emphasising of her character would place her in the romantic (too much) category.
However, if I were to assess this sculpture’s aesthetics in terms of whether it points towards divine, I would definitely say yes. There is something in this sculpture that invites to sympathise with her. Her imperfect body, overall tiredness and exhaustion point to me that she is plainly a simple human being. A child of God in this imperfect world.