Beauty tells you to stop thinking about yourself, and to wake up to the world of others. It says: "Look at this, listen to this, study this - for here is something more important than you." Beauty is an end in itself. We reach beauty through setting our interests aside and letting the world dawn on us. There are many ways of doing this, but art is undeniably the most important, since it presents us with the image of human life - our own life and all that life means to us - and asks us to look on it directly, not for what we can take from it but for what we can give to it. Through beauty, art cleans the world of our self-obsession.
In the face of sorrow, imperfection and the fleetingness of our affections and joys, we ask ourselves: "Why?" We need reassurance. We look to art for the proof that life in this world is meaningful and that suffering is not the pointless thing that it so often appears to be, but the necessary part of a larger and redeeming whole.
Sir Roger Scruton