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 harmony.

(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.




The interior of the Cathedral at Chartres embodies the principles of Scholasticism. As discussed in the module on architecture, the design embodies balance, symmetry, unity, repetition of lines, etc. As God was envisioned as creating the world with a ruler and a compass, the architect designed this interior simulating God’s ideal vision.