Theories of Art - Philosophy 243 A Brief Summary of Some...

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Philosophy 243 A Brief Summary of Some Theories of Art 1. Art as imitation ( Mimesis ). Plato, Republic X (G&B pp. 4-8). Works of art are images or likenesses of what they portray. They strive to be like what they portray, but fall short. Art that is “imitative” in a pejorative sense is deceptive or misleading; it is an imitation of appearance, not of reality. “Then the imitator, I said, is a long way off from the truth, and can do all things because he lightly touches on a small part of them, and that part an image.” (G&B p. 7) 2. Art as significant form . Clive Bell (G&B pp. 20-23). “These relations and combinations of lines and colors, these aesthetically moving forms, I call ‘Significant Form’; and ‘Significant Form’ is the one quality common to all works of visual art.” (p. 20) “To appreciate a work of art we need bring with us nothing but a sense of form and color and a knowledge of three-dimensional space.” (p. 22) “For a discussion of aesthetics, it need be agreed only that forms arranged and combined according to certain unknown and mysterious laws do move us in a particular way, and that it is the business of the artist so to combine and arrange forms that they shall move us.”
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