The role of criteria adoption in a husn-oriented ideation

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Art University

2 School of Architecture & Urbanity / Iran University of Science & Technology

3 Esfahan University of Art.

4 University of Tehran


Based on Islamic epistemological foundations, knowledge precedes and influences action. In the context of artistic creation process, this means that the artist’s conception or grasp of beauty will influence the quality of the work of art they create. In the Islamic language, observing and perceiving beauty, or husn, involves looking for states and reflections of perfection in the context of an artistic theme. Observing husn is a requirement for any artistic ideation process within the Islamic perspective to the notion of art. The reason is that ideation is the first stage in creating a work of art. The more an artist is capable of upgrading their level of observation from the sensory to extrasensory aspects, i.e. to the reflections of husn of the subject, the more they will be able to improve their idea and create an art that will reflect real beauty. In a previous research work, purpose-oriented thinking has been identified as an important tool for improving the “husn-observation” skill in an artist. The aim of purpose-oriented thinking is to discover the qualities of perfection of the subject and the purpose meant for it, i.e., aspect of its husn. Therefore, any attempt for designing processes and solutions to engage an artist’s thinking with husn-oriented ideation will necessarily involve a study into how thinking will become purpose-oriented. However, according to Islamic epistemological principles, the intellect (‘aql) is the faculty of discerning what is husn from what is not husn. As a foundational research work, the present study therefore focuses on the intellect in order to contribute to creating the foundational knowledge of how artistic ideation will become husn-oriented. On this pursuit, the study employs principles drawn from the Quran and views of Allameh Tabataba’i and adopts a descriptive-analytical methodology to examine the relationship between the intellect and a purpose- or husn‌-oriented thinking process. It then argues that husn-oriented ideas will only become possible when thinking takes place along with intellection, or the process of using ‘aql. Here, the role of artistic thinking will be to elaborate the artistic theme and make connections between the artist’s outward and inward observations about the theme. As an outcome, some knew statements of knowledge will be produced. Artistic intellection refers to the act of knowing and adopting criteria of truth and assessing the statements produced through the thinking process based on the intellectual criteria of assessment. This means that any improvements made to an idea towards its husn will involve refining the set of criteria used for assessment, which needs to be carried out in at least three stages of the process. The first stage is before the artist gets engaged in creating art. The second and third stages belong to the the ideation process: one where the artist thinks about “the purpose of creating artwork” and the other where they try to “design the idea structure”. The study finally suggests sets of criteria that can be used for each stage of the process of orienting and improving an idea towards husn.


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