The Allegory of the Cave

Read Lockhart's avatar Read Lockhart

The Allegory of the Cave is inspired by the parable in the 7th book of Plato’s Republic. The allegory depicts a cave inhabited by people, prisoners from the world, who’s reality is merely shadows cast on the cave wall before them. Their reality, the shadows, are controlled and manipulated by an unknown presence, making the cave a projection of the real world. Therefore, the shadow of a horse is understood by the prisoners to be a horse. In the allegory, a single prisoner frees himself and leaves the cave. As he encounters the real world, it becomes clear the presentation of forms in the cave world were restrictions of true forms. His understanding of reality was a controlled illusion. Upon this revelation, he returns to the cave as philosopher and attempts to educate and enlighten his fellow prisoners. Read’s painting depicts the artist as philosopher and the audience as prisoners. The duty of the artist is to enlighten the audience to a new understanding of beauty in the world.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth: 0
  • Medium: Oil on Canvas
  • Width: 12
  • Year created: 2012
  • Height: 7