The Nature of Works of Art
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The Nature of Works of Art book
This chapter explores the nature of works of art. Through a strange anomaly Plato, who was likewise an artist, whose dialogues are replete with poetry, and who as an accomplished Athenian practiced in his youth the arts of music and dancing, finds no words to apply to art except those of disdain. The deep reason for this attitude lies in his failure to understand the true nature of art. Art for Plato is nothing but the imitation of the natural object, and the natural object itself is but a pale reflection of the real, which maintains an existence above sensible things and outside of them, in such a way that the work of art is twice removed from reality: a shadow of a shadow. The beauty of a work of art is complex, bilateral, since it resides at one and the same time in the object marked with its imprint and in the subject who contemplates it.