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τὴν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ κτλ. This famous section describes in glowing language, like that of the Symposium, Plato's ideal of art. He does not desire to banish art, as is sometimes asserted, but rather idealises it by effecting—as he believed—its reconciliation with beauty and truth. Art aspired to be καλόν in his day: Plato wished it to be so in the fullest sense of the word: and his idea of beauty is sufficiently comprehensive to include moral and spiritual beauty as well as physical. Plato was doubtless unfair in the application of his principle to some of the Greek artists and poets, but in itself his ideal—the love of spiritual beauty —is one to which the best and most enduring art—which alone can find a place in an ideal city—consciously or unconsciously ever seeks to conform. See Nettleship Lect. and Rem. II pp. 112— 116. τοῖς ποιήμασιν κτλ. Cf. Laws 656 D, E. Nettleship (Hell. pp. 117 f.) remarks on the fact that “Plato in his criticism of Greek art has almost ignored the painters and sculptors, and confined his assaults to the musicians and still more to the poets.” This is true, although the present passage shews that his canons were intended to regulate painting, sculpture, architecture, and the minor arts as well as music and poetry. Among other reasons, Nettleship plausibly suggests that Plato “did not see in the sculptors and architects of his time the signs of degeneracy which drew his attention to the poets and musicians.” Cf. 401 C.
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