Aging in Place: Aesthetic Experience

A man and woman laying in bed smiling for the camera.

The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.

~ Louisa May Alcott


Aging in Place

It has been said that what is most personal is most important. In my life the most personal, meaningful, and important moments have often transpired during aesthetic experiences. I recall as a child a lithograph of a painting which hung on the living room wall. We collectively called it The Barefoot Boy.

The painting depicts a young boy lying faceup on a grassy knoll and the scene is evenly balanced horizontally between browns, sand color with green grass at the base, accented with touches of lavender wildflowers. The top is capped with an indigo sky above with hints of off-white splashes of butterfly wings hovering about the resting figure. His left-hand shades upwards gazing eyes against the soft summer sun. The other arm is stretched out perpendicular to his torso.

Viewing this was one of my earliest recollections of the aesthetic experience. The art piece was given to my mother by her mother, the historical significance is unknown to me, other than to say my grandfather reportedly had a fondness of reciting a poem titled The Bare Foot Boy. . .with eyes of blue.” It was thought some relationship existed between the two, perhaps he brought it back with him from Europe after the war. In any case, the print held family significance and acquired a sacred status over the years.

As an adult I now see the role that The Bare Foot Boy played as a meaningful object of kindship ties that bound the generations together. This work of art provided continuity in our family life and across generations, which caused the attachment of special meaning to it.

Those generations are gone, and The Bare Foot Boy now hangs in our home, seemingly somewhat out of place, yet still providing memories and feelings of connectedness.

Aesthetics are synonymous with life, without them only shadows are left to fill the void. . .



Components of aesthetic experience: Aesthetic fascination, aesthetic appraisal, and aesthetic emotion

A man and woman laying in bed smiling for the camera.

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