Stefano Zecchi

Possessing the capability to recognize beauty


Acquiring and possessing the capability to recognize beauty is the true luxury.

This is the idea behind the latest book by Stefano Zecchi “Il lusso”, published by Mondadori, an original, short essay that examines the different acceptations of aesthetics, from ancient Greece to the present day.

Can you define the binomial luxury – aesthetic education?

If the prime reason behind ones buying a costly object is to show it off and confirm ones status of economic affluence, this does not show you appreciate luxury, but simply that you belong to that category of people who in my book I have defined as “luxury-boors”, or that is persons devoid of the necessary capacity to understand the true essence of a luxury item. A luxury item is the expression of a creative idea and it is not enough to possess it to express pleasure in luxury, but you need to have the style and the culture to be able to appreciate it.

Today luxury means experiencing beautiful things and situations, something you can only live by having followed a correct aesthetic education.

What principles do this aesthetic education rest on?

In the western world, up to the nineteenth century, man’s education always centred on the quest for beauty, inasmuch as beauty was also bearer of ethic values. The forms of beauty were harmonious and aboveall recognisable inasmuch as they always possessed an educative albeit ethical message.

Indeed what happened in the nineteenth century?

With the advent of Positivism the value of beauty took on a secondary role. The nineteenth century was dominated by scientific knowledge and as is known scientific knowledge does not demand that an object be beautiful, but simply that it works. Adolf Loos said that beauty is superfluous.

This laying aside of beauty has for example influenced art, giving rise to the socalled Avante Garde. Abstractism, Cubism, Futurism created new forms of artistic expression breaking with the forms of the past, where the objects are no longer recognisable in their own harmonious forms.

Today we should return to appreciating the value of beauty in its original meaning. And we should start with young people, teaching them to recognize beauty and to respect it.


By rediscovering the value of classical studies through the reading of 5 fundamental books: the Iliad, Phaedrus, the Divine Comedy, Faust, and the Brothers Karamazov.

SHARE Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone