Artistic Representation Through a Specific Image: Allegory of the Cave

The prison dwelling and the visible realm are compared to one another in thefirst sentence of the text.The realm is dark, with the exception of a small, well-kept fire.This burning fire is almost a representation of the burning sun that shines in the outer world.This sun is interpreted as the “idea of the good.”The fire inside the cave helps guide the prisoners to use their senses.Without it, they would see nothing, not even their own shadows glowing on the wall.

The physical objects that the prisoner saw were mere illusions.We should never trust what we see with just our eyes, because illusions will be the result.Then, we would get comfortable and never second guess it for ourselves. The realm is not visible, but the concept is true and real, therefore it is merely just an idea.Only ideas are considered real.T

he visible is what one sees, but is really just an opinion.

A table, for example, is hard, four legged, has a horizontal surface, and nothing else qualifies as a table.The concept table is the intelligible, and not visible, but the one particular, concrete table is visible; it will one day break, but the idea remains.What we see doesn’t last forever, it is constantly changing.

This is why the visible is just an opinion.We should, instead, only believe in things that are long-lasting, those that are non-physical, non-dimensional.They are just ideas, In the second sentence, the prisoner’s upward journey can only be seen in ideas or forms.

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This is known as the intelligible realm.We find these ideas in the rational part of the soul.The outside would is full of reality, but most importantly, it consists of something the prisoner has never before encountered.This is found outside of the cave, the only home he has ever known. This is called knowledge.

Propaganda Art With the start of World War I, artists began an era of art known as propaganda art. The purpose of this art was to systematically promote a particular doctrine or idea to win people over to there beliefs. Artists such as George Grosz protested his views of the war through the sketch Fit For Active Service, which mocks the desperate measures the Nazi’s took to recruit soldiers into battle. But on the other side of propaganda art, artists like A.I. Stakhov where commissioned by the Russian congress to create “a true, historically concrete portrayal of reality in it’s revolutionary development” (Fiero 57), which is evident in his colored lithograph, Emancipated Women Build Socialism.

Although both paintings where done in the same era, the subject, meaning, and style differ drastically from each other. Grosz’s purpose was to mock and discredit the government, while Strakhov’s intent was to unite the Russian population in support of the communist movement. George Grosz spent a short time in battle for the German military, but only after his discharge did he begin to protest their “corrupt and mindless bureaucracy” (Fiero 55). Grosz was disgusted by the common Nazi practice of drafting old and sometimes sick men into the front lines of battle. He translated his disapproval in his pen and brush drawing Fit For Active Service.

The sketch composes un-proportional gestural caricatures of Nazi army doctors “pronouncing a skeletal cadaver “O.K.” to serve in combat” (Fiero 55). Grosz’s purpose was to make pointed references of the desperate need for German soldiers and their derogatory means of doing so. During this same time another form of propaganda was being developed in Russia. During the Russian Revolution, communists enforced totalitarian control over all aspects of cultural expression.

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Artistic Representation Through a Specific Image: Allegory of the Cave. (2019, Oct 10). Retrieved from

Artistic Representation Through a Specific Image: Allegory of the Cave
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