Philosopher Roger Scruton on beauty and desecration :
At any time between 1750 and 1930, if you had asked an educated person to describe the goal of poetry, art, or music, beauty would have been the answer. And if you had asked what the point of that was, you would have learned that beauty is a value, as important in its way as truth and goodness, and indeed hardly distinguishable from them. Philosophers of the Enlightenment saw beauty as a way in which lasting moral and spiritual values acquire sensuous form. And no Romantic painter, musician, or writer would have denied that beauty was the final purpose of his art.
At some time during the aftermath of modernism, beauty ceased to receive those tributes. Art increasingly aimed to disturb, subvert, or transgress moral certainties, and it was not beauty but originalityhowever achieved and at whatever moral costthat won the prizes. Indeed, there arose a widespread suspicion of beauty as next in line to kitschsomething too sweet and inoffensive for the serious modern artist to pursue.
(Via: Douglas Groothuis )