Love and beauty, contemplation and complacence. Reflections on the basis of saint Thomas Aquinas’ thought

The experience of beauty is placed at the beginning of the understanding of the truth and loving the good: it is in some sense the principle of these actions. At the source of the diversity of human experience, we find its essential unity, which is the unity of the object, experienced as beauty. In the later stages of personal experience, the beauty manifests itself as a source of persistent relationships between cognitive and appetitive acts. The original experience of beauty consists of a primary contemplation of being and of love as complacency (complacentia). In the final part of the article, it is considered love as a principle dynamising the appetition, and also the dynamics of the relationship between love and cognition.