How can someone say this with consistency? 

This is a very common phrase- it means that the person is aware that the artwork required a large amount of skill and thought. They can say that they appreciate the talent, but it doesn't mean that it evokes positive emotions. Maybe they don't like the colours or the meaning is not clear to them, or it is clear and they don’t like it. There could be many factors affecting an artworks allure, but not its skill. Anyone who is familiar with art can recognise when something required skill and they can appreciate that without actually liking it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two paintings are very different and how someone describes them will differ from person to person. This is because the beauty of art, beauty in general, is subjective. It's like the saying- beauty is in the eye of the beholder. No one knows what makes something beautiful. We can talk about what makes things likeable, what makes a great or skilful painting, but we cannot analyse beauty. It is something that just is. And it is different to everyone. 

I read that in Greek mythology the goddess of beauty would appear to be someone different to everyone- she would be the “ideal” form of beauty to each person. And that is different for everyone so no one would see the same Aphrodite. I find that interesting. It can be applied to art. Even though we can appreciate all art work, we all have our ‘ideal’ beauty of art. So consequently, we all don't see the same ‘Aphrodite’. 

Psychologists search for universal emotions and though they theoretically have found that there are six universal emotions, none of them is a universal. Each culture has similar ideals of beauty, but that can be blamed on social media force feeding what they believe the standard for beauty is. On the other side of the world it is something completely different.

Beauty standards is something much more modern than the six universal emotions and evolved so it evolved in each culture differently. Thus, there is no universal beauty, but within cultures people can have very similar ideals. 

‘It’s a great work of art, but I don’t like it.’