By 1200, St. Thomas
Aquinas propounded the theory of Scholasticism. While this theological
philosophy is very complex, in a nut shell, it tries to unite the spiritual
and scientific worlds that earlier aesthetics had tried to separate. There
are three basic tenets appropriate to our discussion of art.
(1) God created the world
with reason and harmony, so artists, when they represent the world in their
art, must similarly use compositional elements of symmetry, balance, and
(2) When God rested on
the seventh day after creating the world, he looked upon his creation and
declared it “good.” Therefore, if God delighted in the flora, fauna,
mountains, and seas, then artists should study God’s creations in their many
forms and show respect by representing them accurately in their images.
(3) God created man in
His own image, and so artists need to better represent the human body as it
is a reflection of divinity.