Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.


Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "THE PSYCHOLOGY OF GREEK ART"— Presentation transcript:


2 OVERVIEW Alternative views to Plato in Rep. 10
Poets, philosophers, sophists, et al. on art Greek art in context Art and the viewer Art and text in combination to produce effect Emotions, politics, erotics of Greek art Psychological power Art as rhetoric Plato’s bugbears…?

3 PLATONIC AESTHETICS I Inseparable from
Education Ontology Epistemology Psychology Ethics & Justice Politics Issues addressed elsewhere in Republic Plato addresses legacy of poets: Homer, Hesiod, et al. His intellectual precursors Poets seen as teachers of religion, ethics, law

4 REPUBLIC 10: Critique of Mimetic Painting & Poetry
Mimesis now rejected Psychology, epistemology, education Theory of Forms Outlined in books 4-9 of Rep. Painting used as extensive analogy for mimetic poetry Both media subject to Plato’s Ontology Epistemology Psychology Ethics & Justice

5 REPUBLIC 10 (595-603): On Painting & Poetry
Ontology Painting = mimesis phantasmatos Imitation of an appearance Couch example and invocation of Forms Epistemology Painters and poets = ignorant, so, too, their public 3 removes from truth User/maker/imitator argument Psychology Painting plays havoc with our senses Seductive, erotic, magical language used Epithumetikon vs Logistikon

6 REPUBLIC 10 (603-607): On Epic Poetry & Tragedy
Epistemology Homer is no general No victories recorded How reliable a source for war??? Psychology Meter, harmony, music beguiles us Seductive, erotic, magical language used (cf. painting) Grief: tragedy, etc. panders to ‘irrational’, emotive elements in us

7 REPUBLIC 10 (605c-607): ‘The Greatest Charge’
It corrupts the best of us (cf. painting) NB its emotive power pleasure in sympathising with sufferings of others People assimilate Homeric tragic characters’ behaviour to own lives the more you indulge these emotions, the more you encourage them Poets destabilise our psychological ‘order’ Justice = Psychological order Mimetic poets to be banned (!)

8 SOME RESPONSES Plato assumes depiction = endorsement
does not allow for critical distance of poet and audience Achilles presented as problematic figure in first 2 lines of Iliad Plato does not allow for psychological complexity demands simple didactic message how reasonable is this? Plato ignores moments in Homer of heroic restraint of emotion: Achilles and Priam again Plato very selective in critique

Poetry a source of pleasure in and of itself: Homer, Hesiod Gorgias the orator and Sophist (c BC) intense emotional power of poetry and artworks not necessarily bad (Encomium of Helen) on cleverness of audience (B23) recognition of artistic fiction tragedy involves deceit, cleverness and justice! Platonic objections turned on their head! Cf. Dissoi Logoi on painting and tragedy

Aeschines and Isocrates (orators, active c BC) provide opposite evidence to Plato people do not assimilate tragic emotions in their own lives recognise artistic fictions and emotions Democritus of Abdera (c BC) other people’s sufferings can make us count our blessings and help poet composes very beautifully under inspiration: enthousiasmos Homer has a divine nature & designs a ‘cosmos’ of all kinds of words

Plato expresses different views on art & poetry elsewhere Phaedrus: Plato admires mania of poet Apology: invokes Achilles as his model! Plato is himself a supreme literary artist (and knows it!) Ion: poetry beautiful and true But poets/rhapsodes irrational Operate under inspiration = ENTHOUSIASMOS Republic 10: poet = imitator only No inspiration Plato on poetry: Curb Your Enthousiasmos

12 Poetics defends art and poetry
ARISTOTLE Aristotle: Plato’s greatest student and greatest critic: Poetics defends art and poetry Aristotle Contemplating Homer (Rembrandt, c. 1650)

13 Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii (1784)

14 Pablo Picasso, Guernica (1937)

15 Norman Lindsay ( )

16 Francesco de Goya, 3rd of May 1808

17 Goya, Disasters of War

18 Some Greek writers on art
Polyclitus Sculptor active c BC Author of ‘Canon’ A technical treatise Philosophical overtones? Empedocles Hippias Gorgias Democritus Apelles Euphranor, et al. Sources in Pliny Vitruvius Polyclitus, Doryphorus c. 445 BC

19 Gorgias: An important precursor to Socrates/Plato
Sicilian teacher of rhetoric Interest in forms of logos & art Interest in Homer & tragedy Tragedy as form of ‘deceit’: apatê On tragedy: B23: ‘the deceiver is more just than the non-deceiver, and the deceived is cleverer than the non-deceived’ Cf. Simonides: Thessalians too stupid to be deceived by him. Cf. Dissoi Logoi (3.10) painting and tragedy the one who deceives the most by making things most like real things, this man is best. Gorgias of Leontini, c BC

20 Gorgias on Logos, Emotion & Reality
Encomium of Helen Power of rhetoric/peitho Seductive, deceptive Gorgias uses her story to speculate on psychology, epistemology, rhetoric, etc. On Not Being Nothing exists Even if it did, Nothing is knowable Even if it were, Logos conveys Nothing, so we can’t talk about it Defence of Palamedes Innocent man defending self Rational attempt at persuasion Ostensibly convincing but fails… Peitho as Erotic Personification

21 Gorgias’ Encomium of Helen
Ostensibly tries to exculpate Helen from blame for Trojan War Presents her as victim Of the gods’ will Of desire (erôs) induced by sight and artworks erôs : also a god Of Paris’ violence (bia) Of Logos: persuasive emotive power of words in all forms Poetry, rhetoric, law court speeches, scientific arguments All forms of logos/peitho are false and deceptive Exploit/manipulate doxa Gorgias of Leontini, c BC

22 Gorgias’ Encomium of Helen
8-9: Logos is great ruler that, with the smallest and least conspicuous body brings about the most divine deeds. For it can stop fear and take away grief and generate joy and increase pity. … I deem and name all poetry as logos that has meter; ultra fearful shuddering and very tearful pity and grief-loving longing come upon its hearers, and as a result of the good fortunes and bad fortunes of of other people’s actions and bodies, the soul, through the agency of words, suffers its own private suffering. Gorgias of Leontini, c BC

23 Gorgias’ Encomium of Helen
10: … For the inspired epodes through words are inducers of pleasure and banishers of grief. For mingling with the opinion of the soul the power of the ode enchants and persuades and changes the soul by witchcraft. And two arts of witchcraft and magic have been invented, which are the mistakes of soul and the deceptions of opinion. Gorgias of Leontini, c BC

24 Gorgias’ Encomium of Helen
11-12: ... To remember the past, to examine the present, or to prophesy the future is not easy; and so most people on most subjects make doxa advisor to their minds. But doxa is perilous and uncertain, and brings those who use it to perilous and uncertain good fortune... For peitho expelled her thought; peitho which has the same dunamis but not the same form as anagke. 14: The power of the logos has the same relation to the ordering of the soul as the ordering of drugs does to the nature of the body. … some (sc. speeches) cause grief, others fear, while others instill courage in their hearers, and some drug and bewitch the soul with some evil persuasion. Gorgias of Leontini, c BC

25 Gorgias: Encomium of Helen 8-14
Psychology of logos Instills emotions Applies to poetry and prose Fear, longing, desire, pity Cf. Aristotle on fear and pity of tragedy (Poetics) Works on soul like magic Goêteia, Thelxis, Apatê Witchcraft, beguilement, deceit Cf. Plato in Rep. 10 on painting & tragedy In Helen 18 powers of visual art and opsis parallel the powers of logos Inspire the same emotional, psychological responses Helen with Erõs and Paris, c. 350 BC

26 Gorgias: Encomium of Helen 18
But indeed whenever painters perfectly produce one body and form from many colours and bodies, they delight the sight. The making of statues and the production of sculptures provide a sweet sickness for the eyes. Thus, it is natural for the sight to grieve for some things and long for others. And many things produce in many people desire and longing for many actions and bodies. Helen with Erõs and Paris, c. 350 BC

27 Homeric Erotic Statues
Od : Odysseus embellished by Athena for Nausikaa He is compared to gold and silver statue Athena compared to craftsman Erotic thauma of new appearance NB Nausikaa’s response Odysseus before his makeover

28 Homeric Erotic Statues
Penelope embellished by Athena (Od ff) Compared to carved ivory Effect on suitors Thelxis Thauma Desire Mycenaean ivory female figures

29 Anavysos Kouros, c. 530 BC accompanied by inscription
in hexameter (Homeric) verse ‘Stay by the grave of Kroisos the dead man and pity him whom once in the forefront of battle raging Ares destroyed.’ emotive response required Homeric/heroic connotations cf. Thersites as opposite erotic; cf. Tyrtaeus

30 New York Kouros; Cleobis & Biton

31 Anavysos Kouros, c. 530 BC

32 Anavysos Kouros, c. 530 BC Kritian Boy, c

33 Dexileos Monument, c. 390 Inscription: ‘Dexileos, son of Lysanias from Thorikos, born under the archonship of Teisandros [=414/13 BC] , died under the archonship of Euboulides at Corinth as one of five cavalrymen.’

34 Pandora: as Erotic Statue
Theogony Pandora as model made by Hephaistos Wears talismanic crown Thaumasia objects on it Composite figure with gift from Athena Erotic and deceptive qualities Irresistible guile Thauma grips even gods when looking at her Kalon kakon Pandora/Anesidora

35 Pandora: as Erotic Statue
Creation of Pandora; Attic Rf calyx krater, c. 460 BC


37 ‘Phrasikleia’, c. 540 & Peplos Kore, c. 525
Inscription: ‘Grave marker of Phrasikleia. I will always be called maiden (Kore), having obtained that name instead of marriage.’ Cf. Homeric hymn to Demeter Persephone as Kore

38 Berlin Kore, c. 580

39 Hegeso Monument, c. 400 BC

40 Ilissos Monument, c. 360 BC

41 White-ground lekythos, c. 440

42 Exekias, Suicide of Ajax, c. 530

43 Sacrifice of Iphigeneia, Pompeii, c. 100 BC
In Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Iphigeneia is compared to a painting ‘Strikes her killers with an arrows of pity from her eyes’ Cf. Timanthes’ painting and grades of pity on characters

44 Zeus & Ganymede, c. 480

45 Nike of Paionios, c. 420 BC

46 Temple of Athena Nike, c. 410

47 Classical Athens: Art, Eros & Power
Theatre of Dionysos Acropolis, Athens Cf. Pericles: ‘Look on her power and become a lover of the city.’ (Thucydides)

48 Classical Athens: Art, Eros & Power
Cf. Pericles: ‘Look on her power and become a lover of the city.’ (Thucydides) Acropolis, Athens

49 Myron, Discobolos, (orig.c. 460)
Lucian (2nd century AD): Lover of Lies Discussion of statue as combination of different poses Sequence of movements Not actual appearance, but conveys kinetic energy A form of artistic ‘deceit’? Apatê? Roman copy

50 Cf. Other Media Lucian (2nd century AD)
Lover of Lies Discussion of statue as combination of different poses Sequence of movements Not actual appearance, but conveys kinetic energy A form of artistic ‘deceit’? Apatê? Panathenaic amphora, c. 530 BC

51 Artemision god, Zeus (?), c. 460

52 Summary: Art as heightened representation
Heroising aspects Erotics & desire; pity & longing: pothos ‘deceptive’ aspects (apatê); a ‘sweet sickness’ Cultivates specific modes of viewing A visually persuasive & powerful image Not just an imitation of an appearance Gorgianic aesthetics anticipates Aristotle Cf. Plato’s reaction in Republic 10! Culture of artistic fiction and emotional engagement with art objects Anticipates much in Aristotle’s Poetics

53 Poetics defends art and poetry
ARISTOTLE Aristotle: Plato’s greatest student and greatest critic: Poetics defends art and poetry Aristotle Contemplating Homer (Rembrandt, c. 1650)


Similar presentations

Ads by Google