Art, Representation In - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Pictures form a subset of the artifacts that serve to represent particular things or kinds of thing, real or imagined, in a broad inclusive sense of the term represent. Like some of their fellow representations, but unlike others, pictures go on to attribute properties to the things or kinds they represent—properties that thereby constitute their pictorial content. How does this work? What distinguishes the representing done by pictures—depiction—from the representing done by various other familiar kinds of representation?

Plato and Pictorial Mimesis

Near the start of his case for banishing the poets from his ideally just city (Plato 1992, Republic X, 595a–598b), Plato urges that poetry and painting are analogous mimetic activities, structured so as to be able to imitate—approximately replicate—only a superficial and trivial part of the deep and serious things they profess to take as models. The...

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This section contains 5,128 words
(approx. 18 pages at 300 words per page)
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Art, Representation In from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.