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It was Plato who first suggested that he thought the Artist to be one of the most disruptive elements in his utopian society.
Why should this be?
Throughout the generations, art has reflected the life of the society at the time. A great deal of information is passed on through art. The artist who tends to be a free thinker will be moved emotionally by the events at the time and pass on these messages through artistic works. This is why, during the Nazi period in Germany, these artists who would not conform had to flee the country so they and their art would not be destroyed. The only acceptable art was that which could be used to promote Hitler's ideals, in short - propaganda.
Britain had an official war artist during World War II - this was Paul Nash. Look at Nash's painting, Totes Meer (Dead Sea) 1940 - 41. Here, he presents the wreckage of aeroplanes like the sea's final struggle to the shore. Sharp jagged edges, lost effort, wasted resources, and pointless destruction - a desolate scene into which so many messages can be read.
This painting not only represents what the artist saw, but also what he felt. In our more open society it was accepted, although you can see how it might be viewed by less tolerant governments. You might also understand Plato's thinking now. Art can be a powerful tool for changing attitudes and opinions. It can speak to us in many different ways.
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