The devil's in the detail, Keith.
One man's vacuum is another man's freedom from life-support - exactly what so many seek every day.
But then who's to judge whether a picture has or has not got that magical content: message beneath the beauty? I'd expect that the only really meaningful images, then, have to be Don McCullin's and others of that ilk. But would his be considered beautiful in the first place? Possibly, yes. There's is a touch of Hogarth if you look; even a sense of beauty in age and utter desolation and devastation both physical and emotional (fear?) that he can capture and reveal (McCullin).
Is there meaning in landscape? Is there any in old buildings, in women or in stones? In streets, in random people wandering, loitering or even hurrying along those meaningful streets?
Unfortunately, I think that, as ever, it's back to the eye of the beholder, which removes it from any measurement but the empirical: it's art because I say it's art and because other such images are considered to be art, and beautifully meaningful because it 'speaks' to me... yeah, so what does it so clearly say? Nuttin', mostly.
Oh - saw that show on BBC 4 last night on Santorini and its relationship with Atlantis: had forgotten just how beautifully desolate Greece can be. Made me think of you and your love affair with the islands.