Aesthetics, or esthetics (/ɛsˈθɛtɪks, iːs-, æs-/), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that branched from aesthetics). It examines subjective and sensori-emotional values, or sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste.
Aesthetics covers both natural and artificial sources of aesthetic experience and judgment. It considers what happens in our minds when we engage with aesthetic objects or environments such as in viewing visual art, listening to music, reading poetry, experiencing a play, exploring nature, and so on. The philosophy of art specifically studies how artists imagine, create, and perform works of art, as well as how people use, enjoy, and criticize their art. It deals with how one feels about art in general, why they like some works of art and not others, and how art can affect our moods or even our beliefs. Both aesthetics generally and philosophy of art especially ask questions like “what is art?”, “what is a work of art?”, and “what makes good art?“.
Scholars in the field have defined aesthetics as “critical reflection on art, culture and nature”. In modern English, the term “aesthetic” can also refer to a set of principles underlying the works of a particular art movement or theory (one speaks, for example, of a Cubist aesthetic).