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1 Perhaps a slight failure in Attic courtesy. Cf. Laws 715 D-E, and for ὀξύτερον βλεπόντων927 B, Euthydem. 281 D, Rep. 404 A, Themist.Orat. ii. p. 32 C. Cf. the saying πολλάκι καὶ κηποῦρος ἀνὴρ μάλα καίριον εἶπεν.
2 Cf. Phaedo 76 D, 100 B, Phileb. 16 D, 479 E, Thompson on Meno 72 D. See Zeller, Phil. d. Gr. ii. 1. p. 660. The intentional simplicity of Plato's positing of the concept here (cf. 597 A), and his transition from the concept to the “idea,” has been mistaken for a primitive aspect of his thought by many interpreters. It is quite uncritical to use Aristot.Met. 991 b 6 ff. to prove that Plato's “later” theory of ideas did not recognize ideas of artefacts, and therefore that this passage represents an earlier phase of the theory. He deliberately expresses the theory as simply as possible, and a manufactured object suits his purpose here as it does in Cratyl. 389. See also supra,Introd. pp. xxii-xxiii.
3 “Forms” with a capital letter is even more misleading than “ideas.”
4 Cf. Cratyl. 389 A-B. There is no contradiction, as many say, with 472 D.
5 Cf. Emerson, The Poet: “and therefore the rich poets—as Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Raphael—have no limits to their riches except the limits of their lifetime, and resemble a mirror carried through the streets ready to render an image of every created thing.” (Cf. 596 D-Eκάτοπτρον περιφέρειν and Julian, Or. v. 163 D.) Empedocles, fr. 23 (Diels i.3 pp. 234-235): ὡς δ᾽ ὁπόταν γραφέες . . . δένδρεά τε κτίζοντε καὶ ἀνέρας ἠδὲ γυναῖκας . . .
6 Climax beyond climax. Cf. on 508 E p. 104, note c.
7 It is a tempting error to refer this to God, as I once did, and as Wilamowitz, Platon. i. p. 604 does. So Cudworth, True Intel. System of the Universe, vol. ii. p. 70: “Lastly, he is called ὃς πάντα τά τε ἄλλα ἐργάζεται, καὶ ἑαυτόν, ‘he that causeth or produceth both all other things, and even himself.'” But the producer of everything, including himself, is the imitator generalized and then exemplified by the painter and the poet. Cf. Soph. 234 A-B.
10 Art is deception. Diels ii.3 p. 339, Dialex. 3 (10)ἐν γὰρ τραγωιδοποιίᾳ καὶ ζωγραφίᾳ ὅστις <κε> πλεῖστα ἐξαπατῇ ὅμοια τοῖς ἀληθινοῖς ποιέων, οὗτος ἄριστος, Xen.Mem. iii. 10. 1γραφική ἐστιν εἰκασία τῶν ὁρωμένων. Cf. Plut.Quomodo adolescens 17 F-18 A on painting and poetry. There are many specious resemblances between Plato's ideas on art and morality and those of the “lunatic fringe” of Platonism. Cf. Jane Harrison, Ancient Art and Ritual, pp. 21-22, Charles F. Andrews, Mahatma Gandhi's Ideas, p. 332. William Temple, Plato and Christianity, p. 89: “In the tenth book of the Republic he says that, whereas the artificer in making any material object imitates the eternal idea, an artist only imitates the imitation (595 A-598 D); but in Book V he said that we do not blame an artist who depicts a face more beautiful than any actual human face either is or ever could be (472 D).” But this does not affect Plato's main point here, that the artist imitates the “real” world, not the world of ideas. The artist's imitation may fall short of or better its model. But the model is not the (Platonic) idea.
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