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Politeia

Volume 1, Issue 1, Winter 2019

Aphrodite Alexandrakis
Pages 56-82
DOI: 10.5840/politeia2019115

Plato's Notion of Beauty in Classical Greek and Egyptian Art

This investigation aims at establishing a new understanding of Plato’s notion of artistic beauty. It will be argued that Plato’s theory of beauty is in perfect agreement with his metaphysical system, and is based on the Pythagorean notion of beauty, as this is reflected in the principles of proportion and harmony. Hence it will be shown that Plato’s ideas of κάλλος and καλὸν in the later books of the Republic and the Laws reflect the voice of a “Pythagorean Plato.” According to this view, the essence of what is intrinsically beautiful in art (τέχνη) is of an abstract and rational nature. It is the result of the combination and unity of the rational elements of symmetry, rhythm, and harmony.

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