Beauty’s relation to art work is a contentious problem for the philosophy of art. The problem is not new to the history of philosophy. Hume and Kant attempted to tackle the question in the modern era. Contemporary philosophers have broadened the definition of art to include works that stretch modern philosophers’ conceptions. With philosophers shifting their definition from the object to the subject, they have effectively marginalized beauty in place of another good or valued concept.

Considering the status quo, this paper argues that beauty is a necessary condition for art work. It argues that philosophers have a problem when their broad definition of art disregards the beautiful to incorporate art work that is intentionally ugly or is only considered art work because of its being on display. Comparing the focus of other philosophical disciplines with philosophy of art’s focus on beauty, it argues that philosophy of art blurs its vision when it directs its gaze to that other than to its proper transcendental.

Examining the intelligent and elevating characteristics of the art form of sculpture, the paper compares two famous works: Michelangelo’s Pietà and Warhol’s Brillo Boxes. Because the sculptor is able to communicate the beauty of creation through his art work, a philosophy of art that changes its questions to incorporate existing objects that are deemed “art” has not fully addressed the problem of beauty’s place in art work.