Australian author Ilario Colli explores the idea that in the contemporary, postmodern aesthetic, beauty is, to all intents and purposes, dead. But it is there waiting to be resurrected and, he argues, should be returned to its rightful place at the centre of our creative and artistic lives.

Sisyphus in an oil painting by Titian, 1548–49, in the Prado Museum, Madrid. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Is beauty dead? Have we killed it? Can it be resurrected from its metaphysical tomb, or are we forever consigned to the hell of a beautyless life? In the modern world, one would be forgiven for thinking that ugliness reigns supreme. Cast your eye over any modern cityscape and you see a wild mismatch of architectural shapes and styles: jagged...