“Beauty Is Truth, Truth Beauty” Essay

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Jeannie Lentz April 4, 2013 “Beauty is truth, truth beauty” A poet curiously holds an antique Grecian urn in his hands and imagines about the people and objects he sees carved into the smooth marble. He spins it slowly to observe the images and scenes all the while wondering about the stories embedded ever so intricately, and beautifully on the outside. “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” by John Keats is the name for the marble vessel admired by the poet. The original artist has long passed from this life and is unavailable to interview about the vase. It is only imagination now that can reveal the mystery and hidden message of the urn, and the intended purpose and inspiration felt by the artist. A single piece of art, regardless of the medium, is an artist’s gift to an observer. Even though, “everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it” (Confucius). Art is meant to be enjoyed and appreciated in so many ways. If it is a painting of someone, appreciation returns to the artist for the detail in texture, colors and paint strokes upon the canvas. The person portrayed thereon is embraced with admiration and respect. The same goes for a vase made of marble. It is admired for the heaviness of the marble and the intricate images painted upon its smooth variegated surface. Though vaguely the Grecian urn tells a story, either imagined or witnessed, from long ago to share for generations to come. “Thus pleasure is spread through the earth / In stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find” (Wordsworth). Keats has found one of these stray gifts and describes it as “beauty and truth” in the form of an expressive poem. Dictionary.com defines “beauty” as “the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind; an individually pleasing or beautiful quality; grace; charm.” The

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