460.02 Plato on Mimesis, Ideals, Inspiration

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Information about 460.02 Plato on Mimesis, Ideals, Inspiration
Education

Published on February 15, 2014

Author: thisisnotatextbook

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Slides on Plato's concepts of mimesis, the Ideal, Beauty, inspiration, the Simile of the Line, and the tripartite soul

MIMESIS AND THE IDEAL Plato on Representation and Beauty

Really? Escher, Relativity

For every one, as I think, must see that astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another. The spangled heavens should be used as a pattern and with a view to that higher knowledge; their beauty is like the beauty of figures or pictures excellently wrought by the hand of Daedalus, or some other great artist, which we may chance to behold; any geometrician who saw them would appreciate the exquisiteness of their workmanship, but he would never dream of thinking that in them he could find the true equal or the true double, or the truth of any other proportion. Plato, Republic

How do you know? What is real?

That which changes least is most real You know best that which changes least How do you know? What is real?

How do you know? What is real? You know best that which changes least That which changes least is most real imaginings illusions, shadows

What is real? That which changes least is most real You know best that which changes least How do you know? beliefs sensations ordinary things imaginings illusions, shadows

The Eye What is real? That which changes least is most real You know best that which changes least How do you know? beliefs sensations ordinary things imaginings illusions, shadows The Sun

What is real? understanding reasoning proofs The Eye forms geometric forms functions formulae beliefs sensations ordinary things imaginings illusions, shadows That which changes least is most real You know best that which changes least How do you know? The Sun

You know best that which changes least What is real? Recognition of: The Good The True The Beautiful The True The Beautiful understanding reasoning proofs The Eye forms geometric forms functions formulae beliefs sensations ordinary things imaginings illusions, shadows The Sun That which changes least is most real How do you know?

How do you know? What is real? The Good Recognition of: The Good The True The Beautiful The True The Beautiful understanding reasoning proofs The Eye forms geometric forms functions formulae beliefs sensations ordinary things imaginings illusions, shadows The Sun That which changes least is most real You know best that which changes least The Mind

How do you know? What is real? The Good Recognition of: The Good The True The Beautiful The True The Beautiful understanding reasoning proofs The Eye visible world forms geometric forms functions formulae beliefs sensations ordinary things imaginings illusions, shadows The Sun That which changes least is most real You know best that which changes least The Mind

How do you know? What is real? Intelligible World The Good Recognition of: The Good The True The Beautiful The True The Beautiful understanding reasoning proofs The Eye visible world forms geometric forms functions formulae beliefs sensations ordinary things imaginings illusions, shadows The Sun That which changes least is most real You know best that which changes least The Mind

How do you know? What is real? Intelligible World The Good Recognition of: The Good The True The Beautiful The True The Beautiful <Pythagorean Theorem> understanding reasoning proofs The Eye visible world forms geometric forms functions formulae beliefs sensations ordinary things imaginings illusions, shadows <3 sided figure> The Sun That which changes least is most real You know best that which changes least The Mind

How do you know? What is real? Intelligible World The Good Recognition of: The Good The True The Beautiful The True The Beautiful <Pythagorean Theorem> instantiation understanding reasoning proofs The Eye visible world forms geometric forms functions formulae beliefs sensations ordinary things imaginings illusions, shadows <3 sided figure> The Sun That which changes least is most real You know best that which changes least The Mind

Where does art go? Ideals According to Plato art copies things which copies ideals ideals things art

Mimesis is, according to Plato, a copy of a copy of an ideal, thrice removed from the truth.

Art from ideals Polykleitos: Doryphorus Lysippos: Apoxyomenos

Cultural ideals Polykleitos: Doryphorus: 7:1 Lysippos: Apoxyomenos: 8:1 Leg to Body Ratio

Contemporary ideals

Where could art go? Ideals Could art manipulate things like shapes to express ideals? ideals art?

Early evidence?

Participation and Instances Ideals, with a capital ‘I’, often called Forms are, according to Plato, are what is most real,—they are abstract, intelligible, eternal and unchanging. There are three Ideals: Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. For Plato, Beauty is abstract it is not apprehended through the senses. lesser ideals, also abstract and intelligible, participate in in the Ideals. Examples of lesser ideals, with a small ‘i’, might be ratios, formulae and geometric forms. Shapes such as those found in architecture, architectonics, perspective, compositional forms (such as the Platonic Solids —the cube, octahedron, tetrahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron which have identical regular polygons as faces that meet at the same angles) and ratios (such as the Golden Mean and the Unison) in turn participate in lesser ideals.

PERMUTATIONS OF MIMESIS AND IDEALS

Drawing from ideals DRAWING FROM SHAPES

Drawing from ideals Leonardo, Dodecahedron Paolo Ucello, Chalice Leonardo, Tetrahedron

EMPIRICAL ASTRONOMY VERSUS TRUE ASTRONOMY The starry heaven which we behold is wrought upon a visible ground, and therefore, although the fairest and most perfect of visible things, must necessarily be deemed inferior far to the true motions of absolute swiftness and absolute slowness, which are relative to each other, and carry with them that which is contained in them, in the true number and in every true figure. Now, these are to be apprehended by reason and intelligence, but not by sight. —Plato, The Republic

PERMUTATIONS OF IDEALS Art in the service of knowledge

Knowledge through Art

Knowledge through Art

Knowledge through Art

Knowledge through Art

Knowledge through Art

Knowledge through Art

Knowledge through Art

Knowledge through Art

PERMUTATIONS OF IDEALS A contemporary notion of truth in the fashion of Plato

Truth: when a claim matches what is What is: The Claim The statue is on the pedestal. reality

Truth: when a claim matches what is What is: The Claim reality The statue is on the pedestal. ((subject) Predicate) ((designates) expresses) <<thing> property> <<statue> being on the pedestal> <<statue> being on the pedestal>

Truth: when a claim matches what is What is: The Claim reality The statue is on the pedestal. ((subject) Verb(object)) ((designates) expresses(designates)) <<thing> relation<thing>> <<statue> being on <the pedestal>> <<statue> being on <the pedestal>>

Truth: when a claim matches what is subject have the property Does the thing designated by the expressed by the predicate? The Claim The Golden Mean is a ratio represented by a point on a line segment (C) that divides it such that the smaller segment (A) stands in relation to the larger segment (B) in the same relation that the larger segment stands to the whole (A:B = B:C). = <<The Golden Mean> a ratio represented by a point on a line segment (C) that divides it such that the smaller segment (A) stands in relation to the larger segment (B) in the same relation that the larger segment stands to the whole (A:B = B:C).> What is: reality A B C

Truth: when a claim matches what is subject have the property Does the thing designated by the expressed by the predicate? The Claim The Golden Mean is a ratio represented by a point on a line segment (C) that divides it such that the smaller segment (A) stands in relation to the larger segment (B) in the same relation that the larger segment stands to the whole (A:B = B:C). = <<The Golden Mean> a ratio represented by a point on a line segment (C) that divides it such that the smaller segment (A) stands in relation to the larger segment (B) in the same relation that the larger segment stands to the whole (A:B = B:C).> What is: reality A B C

Falsehood: when a claim fails to match what is The Claim ((The Parthenon) is exhibits the Golden Mean.) ((Subject) predicate) What is: reality ≠ <<Thing> property> <<Parthenon> exhibiting the Golden Mean> A B Not true C False

Truth some preliminaries Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Convention Matters of Fact Matters of Necessity What is the difference between the truth, an honest mistake, and a lie?

Truth four types of truth Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Convention Can be indexed to a individuals, places, and times. Matters of Fact Matters of Necessity Does this exhaust all truths? The ocean is prettier than the desert & the desert is prettier than the woods.

Truth some claims are true when indexed to the the proper speaker or audience. Barack Obama is our President T Here is Patagonia T some claims are true when indexed to the proper place. some claims are true when indexed to the proper time. George W. Bush is President ⊥ George W. Bush is President T Enrique Peña Nieto is our President ⊥ Here is Patagonia ⊥ 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

Truth four types of truth Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Convention Matters of Convention Matters of Fact Matters of Necessity Does this exhaust all truths? Can be indexed to a register—a convention in culture or society: According to the music business, Tupac is gangsta is while My Chemical Romance is emo.

Truth four types of truth Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Convention Matters of Convention Matters of Fact Matters of Fact Matters of Necessity Consider a world without people or conventions, would there still be light at the wavelength we call cyan, ceteris paribus?

Truth four types of truth Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Convention Matters of Convention Matters of Fact Matters of Fact Matters of Necessity Such truths, often considered contingent, are often expressed ceteris paribus: ‘Cyan’ is identified by R 0, G 255, B 255 all other things being equal. Does this exhaust all truths?

Truth four types of truth π needs to have this value for circles to be round. Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Convention Matters of Convention π Matters of Fact Matters of Fact Matters of Necessity Matters of Necessity = 3.141592...

Truth four types of truth Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Taste or Opinion Matters of Convention Matters of Convention π Matters of Fact Matters of Fact Matters of Necessity Matters of Necessity In pursuit of truths about art a rt = = 3.141592... ?

When preparing to evaluate the truth of a claim, stabilize its truth value by indexing it to speaker and audience, place and time, state the ceteris paribus, and define key terms by giving one clear meaning. A rule of thumb for philosophy of art

TOM SHANNON

“I do not mean by beauty of form such beauty as that of animals or pictures, which the many would suppose to be my meaning; but understand me to mean straight lines and circles, and the plane and solid figures which are formed out of them by turning lathes and rulers and measures of angles; for these I affirm to be not only relatively beautiful, like other works of art, but they are eternally and abstractly beautiful.” –Plato Philebus 51c

IDEALS Implementations through the centuries

Ictinus & Callicrates, Parthenon

Ictinus & Callicrates, Parthenon

C A B Ictinus & Callicrates, Parthenon

A B Ictinus & Callicrates, Parthenon C

Myron, Discobolus

Myron, Discobolus

Myron, Discobolus

Myron, Discobolus

“…sculpture and painting are in truth sisters, born from one father, that is, design, at one and the same birth, and have no precedence one over the other…” “…design, which is their foundation, nay rather, the very soul that conceives and nourishes within itself all the parts of man's intellect, was already most perfect before the creation of all other things, when the Almighty God, having made the great body of the world and having adorned the heavens with their exceeding bright lights, descended lower with His intellect into the clearness of the air and the solidity of the earth…” –Vasari

Paolo Ucello, St George & the Dragon

Paolo Ucello, Battle of San Romano

Leonardo, Tetrahedron Leonardo, Vitruvious Man Leonardo, Dodecahedron

Paolo Ucello, Chalice

Raphael,Engagement

Raphael,Engagement

Raphael, School of Athens

Raphael, School of Athens

“Perspective is to painting what the bridle is to the horse, the rudder to a ship.” —Leonardo Massaccio, Trinity

“There are three aspects to perspective. The first has to do with how the size of objects seems to diminish according to distance: the second, the manner in which colors change the farther away they are from the eye; the third defines how objects ought to be finished less carefully the farther away they are.” —Leonardo Massaccio, Trinity—Perspectives

Leonardo, Last Supper

Leonardo, Last Supper

Dürer, Melancholia Since geometry is the right foundation of all painting, I have decided to teach its rudiments and principles to all youngsters eager for art. —Dürer The new art must be based upon science — in particular, upon mathematics, as the most exact, logical, and graphically constructive of the sciences.—Dürer There is no man on earth who can give a final judgment on what the most beautiful shape may be. Only God knows.—Dürer

If my rough hammer shapes the obdurate stone to a human figure, this or that one, say, it’s the wielder’s fist, vision, and mind at play that gives it momentum—another’s, not its own. But the heavenly hammer working by God’s throne by itself makes others and self as well. We know it takes a hammer to make a hammer. So the rest derive from that primal tool alone. Since any stroke is mightier the higher it’s launched from over the forge, one kind and wise has lately flown from mine to a loftier sphere. My hammer is botched, unfinished in the fire until God’s workshop help him supervise the tool of my craft, that alone he trued, down here.

“treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere, the cone…” —Cezanne Cezanne, Still Life

“treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere, the cone…” —Cezanne Cezanne, Bibemus Quarry

“treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere, the cone…” —Cezanne Cezanne, Mt St Victiore

“treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere, the cone…” —Cezanne Cezanne, Mt St Victoire

Cezanne, Mt St Victoire

“The fact that for a long time Cubism has not been understood and that even today there are people who cannot see anything in it means nothing. I do not read English, an English book is a blank book to me. This does not mean that the English language does not exist. Why should I blame anyone but myself if I cannot understand what I know nothing about?” —Picasso Picasso, House with Garden

“It is a pity that no one in Paris bothered to quote Coleridge, who wrote, long before cubism, that the true poet is able to reduce 'succession to an instant.' Simultaneity in this sense is the property of all great poetry. —LeRoy C. Breunig Picasso, Landscape with Bridge

Juan Gris, Still Life with Fruit and Mandolin DuChamp, Nude Descending a Staircase #2 Braque, Little Harbor in Normandy

The more abstract is form, the more clear and direct its appeal.— Kandinsky Klee, Ancient Sounds Kandinsky, Composition X Klee, Highways and Byways

Klee, Ad Parnassum

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for. —O’Keeffe O’Keeffe, Blue and Green Music O’Keeffe, Cross

O’Keeffe, Cross

Local form Richard Diebenkorn, Cityscape Wayne Thibaud, Hill Richard Diebenkorn, Seawall

MAYA LIN

For the poet is a light and winged and holy thing… INSPIRATION Plato on the affects of poetry, music, and performance

“For the poet is a light and winged and holy thing, and there is no invention in him until he has been inspired and is out of his senses, and the mind is no longer in him: when he has not attained to this state, he is powerless and is unable to utter his oracles.” –Plato, Ion

“The gift which you possess of speaking excellently about Homer is not an art, but, as I was just saying, an inspiration; there is a divinity moving you, like that contained in the stone which Euripides calls a magnet, but which is commonly known as the stone of Heraclea. This stone not only attracts iron rings, but also imparts to them a similar power of attracting other rings; and sometimes you may see a number of pieces of iron and rings suspended from one another so as to form quite a long chain: and all of them derive their power of suspension from the original stone. In like manner the Muse first of all inspires men herself; and from these inspired persons a chain of other persons is suspended, who take the inspiration.” –Plato, Ion

Plato’s Psychology Reason TRIPARTITE SOUL Wisdom Rulers Courage Emotions Self-control Soldiers Justice Crafts workers Plato’s Ideal Polis Appetites

Do you know that the spectator is the last of the rings which, as I am saying, receive the power of the original magnet from one another? The rhapsode like yourself and the actor are intermediate links, and the poet himself is the first of them. Audience Reason Emotions Appetites Muse Reason Reason Emotions Emotions Appetites Reason Emotions Artist Appetites Appetites

“For all good poets, epic as well as lyric, compose their beautiful poems not by art, but because they are inspired and possessed. And as the Corybantian revellers when they dance are not in their right mind, so the lyric poets are not in their right mind when they are composing their beautiful strains: but when falling under the power of music and metre they are inspired and possessed; like Bacchic maidens who draw milk and honey from the rivers when they are under the influence of Dionysus but not when they are in their right mind. And the soul of the lyric poet does the same, as they themselves say; for they tell us that they bring songs from honeyed fountains, culling them out of the gardens and dells of the Muses; they, like the bees, winging their way from flower to flower.” –Plato, Ion

Dürer, Melancholia

GORECKI II. Lento E Largo Tranquillissimo

Socrates. Why, does not Homer speak in many passages about arts? For example, about driving; if I can only remember the lines I will repeat them. Ion. I remember, and will repeat them. Socrates. Tell me then, what Nestor says to Antilochus, his son, where he bids him be careful of the turn at the horse-race in honour of Patroclus. Ion. He says: Bend gently in the polished chariot to the left of them, and urge the horse on the right hand with whip and voice; and slacken the rein. And when you are at the goal, let the left horse draw near, yet so that the nave of the well-wrought wheel may not even seem to touch the extremity; and avoid catching the stone. Socrates. Enough. Now, Ion, will the charioteer or the physician be the better judge of the propriety of these lines? Ion. The charioteer, clearly. Socrates. And will the reason be that this is his art, or will there be any other reason? Ion. No, that will be the reason. Socrates. Then he who has no knowledge of a particular art will have no right judgment of the sayings and doings of that art? Ion. Very true. Socrates. Then which will be a better judge of the lines which you were reciting from Homer, you or the charioteer? Ion. The charioteer. Socrates. Why, yes, because you are a rhapsode and not a charioteer. Ion. Yes. Socrates. And the art of the rhapsode is different from that of the charioteer? Ion. Yes. Socrates. And if a different knowledge, then a knowledge of different matters? Ion. True.

BEN HUR

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