John Keats’ “Ode On A Grecian Urn” & Literature As Fine Art


Keats most famous poem, “Ode On A Grecian Urn,” contains what may be the most recognizable lines from any verse: “Truth is Beauty, Beauty Truth. That’s all you know on earth and all you need to know.”

My interpretation of this is that one arrives are truth and beauty the same way, and that is through the senses, and what is sensed is treated by our emotions, our cognition, and our volition.


Like Leibniz, I believe that this is the best of all possible worlds. That does not mean that this world is flawless and nothing bad ever happens. I mean this world is perfect for what God intended for it to be, which involves everyone facing both blessings and obstacles.

Everything contributes to this perfection, which means everything contains within it the germ of perfection. Beauty is finding and acknowledging the perfection, excellence, or greatness of anything. Following that, Pleasure is what comes from finding beauty in anything.

How we know

Senses are flawed, not because we see things not there or hear things that are not sounds, but by physical limitations we sometimes do not sense things that exist. In other words, not all that is sensible is sensed. Also, emotions are flawed, because we can act wrongly when our emotions are out of control.

The rational is not itself flawed, but it is subject to fallibility. By their proper exercise, both the senses and our feelings can loose their fallibility. This exercise comes with joining them with the rational, which also elevates our thinking and keeps it from giving in to fallibility.


This exercise comes by acknowledging the germ of perfection in anything, finding beauty in it, and thus gaining pleasure from this acknowledgement. This acknowledgement comes from perceiving a thing by the use of the senses, rationally considering it as beautiful, and emoting pleasure. This sharpens both the sense and the emotions so that they do not have to be flawed, and keeps our rational minds in top form.

Pleasure is enhanced by our finding beauty in things because it latently reminds us of our own perfection. The perfection, excellency, and greatness of man can never be determined by what we do or think we can accomplish, but only in noticing we are created by God as part of His “very good” Creation.

Man’s Art

The perception of beauty that leads to pleasure can be found in sensing the perfection in things created by God as well as things created by man. The world around us is God’s creation, and art is man’s creation.

Anything called art that stems from dystopia or dysteleology cannot contain perfection, cannot be perceived as beautiful, and cannot emote pleasure. If there is any art that any person finds pleasing that is ontologically imperfect, that pleasure arises from a lack of spirituality and an abundance of selfishness.

This type of art cannot contribute any true Aesthetic. It cannot recall any innate or God-given perfection, so it cannot advance the senses, emotions, or rationale, and thus cannot help the soul. If anything, it retards its development.


It requires Creativity to form any work of art. But from what we now know about the mind, the aesthete’s brain goes through the same creative process as the artist himself. From my own experience, I know this is true.

Also, we know that what the mind goes through in an artistic creativity it the same process that takes place with scientific discovery. The more we learn, the clearer it becomes that there truly is no distinction between art and science.

The Value of Fine Art

Art contributes to the betterment of the individual and the advancement of society. I am an artist in that I am a writer. If there were no real value to literature, there would be no reason for it. It would be nothing more than a petty indulgence. Good writer should acknowledge what they do for their world, just as readers of good books should understand the worth of what they have.

I’d love to know your thoughts, so tell me in the Comment section below. Also, drop me a line of you are interested in subscribing to my monthly newsletter, which will contain updates on my work, as well as freebies and feedback. And please, Like and Share this article if you find value in it.



Filed under Creative Writing

2 responses to “John Keats’ “Ode On A Grecian Urn” & Literature As Fine Art

  1. David Evans

    You had me doubting myself for a moment. But no, I was right. The lines are actually

    “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

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