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Word And Image In Ancient Greece$
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N. Keith Rutter and Brian Sparkes

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780748614066

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748614066.001.0001

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Plato and Painting

Plato and Painting

(p.99) 6 Plato and Painting
Word And Image In Ancient Greece

Stephen Halliwell

Edinburgh University Press

Words and images jostled one another, co-operatively or competitively, in diverse areas of the classical culture of Athens. This chapter addresses one particular domain in which images, the images of figurative art, were subjected to the questioning of words, the words of philosophical enquiry. It also explores the philosophical discussion of images: class of object, objects with representational content or mimetic object, mimemata. Mimesis is still a widely misunderstood concept. The chapter shows that the understanding of mimesis, in the context of Plato's references to the visual arts, is more complex than existing accounts might suggest. Plato refers to artistic images, especially painting, on numerous occasions. He does so, it is true, predominantly for the purposes of analogy or by way of obiter dicta, rather than with sustained attention to the subject in its own right.

Keywords:   words, images, culture, Athens, object, mimesis, Plato, visual arts

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