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What is beauty? Where, how and why did the idea of beauty originate? How can we like something because of its looks, while we have no precise definition of beauty itself?

Is the perception of beauty coloured by origins, culture, education, geography, media, myths or habituation? Is there a universal beauty? What makes something pretty or ugly? And what does the damn thing cost? Why do ‘civilised’ people shamelessly state that the human interior is more important than the exterior? But if that really would be the case, why do we spend so much time and money on clothing, on cosmetics and increasingly on plastic surgery? Why then, do tall people earn more money than ‘small’ people? Was Fibonacci wrong after all?

Beauty plays a much more critical role in daily life than most people think or dare to admit. To solve that enigma, art historian Stefan de Vries travels from the Louvre in Paris to a group of perfect bodies in California. He walks along Vermeer’s picturesque canals in Delft to find out the perfect composition of artworks.

In interviews with experts, historians, psychologists, neuroscientists, winners, losers and mathematicians, De Vries will try to explain why ‘beautiful’ usually means good, how brains translate aesthetic impulses, and what the seemingly emotionless squares of Mondrian have in common with a nose job.

The Pleasures of Beauty is currently being written by journalist and
art historian Stefan de Vries. It will be published in 2015 one day.