δεῖ μὴ τὰ Παύσωνος θεωρεῖν τοὺς νέους, ἀλλὰ τὰ Πολυγνώτου κἂν εἴ τις ἄλλος τῶν γραφέων ἢ τῶν ἀγαλματοποιῶν ἐστιν ἠθικός

The young must not look at the works of Pauson but at those of Polygnotus, and each time a painter or a sculptor is deemed moral (is picturing moral characters) (translation Spyridon Loumakis)

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Il ne faut pas que les jeunes gens contemplent les tableaux de Pauson, mais bien ceux de Polygnote ou de tout autre peintre ou sculpteur qui ait représenté "l'expression morale" (trans. A. Reinach 1921).

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Commentary

  1. The book 8 of Aristotle's Politics follows directly book 7 and concerns specifically education (Aubonnet 1989, pp. 1-27 and text 36).
  2. The text is situated within a larger discussion on representation (or imitation) of "characters" (êthos). Since images represent characters (êthos) and emotions (pathos) by form and colours (shkêma kai chrôma - see text261), imitating the expression of emotions and characters of the body, only pictures "showing good/moral characters" i.e. êthikos (LSJ s.v. [êthikos A. II]qiko%2Fs)), are valuable for the education of young (see text 36 : for the sake of a good education, children and the young should not see unseemly images). In Poetics 6, 1450 a25, Polygnotos is a "good painter of characters" ("agothos êthographos", see text 133). Images like in his paintings, in which coexist good and wrong moral values, are a good example of what an "êthikos" picture is. Thereby, young can take moral lessons from paintings like those of Polygnotos (see text 132; Pollitt 1974, p. 198; Aubonnet 1989, p. 41 n. 5, pp. 143-144 n. 3-4).
  3. Same idea in Aelian, VH IV.3 (text 130).
  4. On Pauson : 173-179.
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Bibliography

On Politics : refer to 36.

Especially : Bodéüs, R. 1982, Le philosophe et la cité. Recherche sur les rapports entre morale et politique dans la pensée d'Aristote, Les Belles Lettres, Paris;

Lord, C. 1990, "Politics and Education in Aristotle's Politics" in Patzig, G. (ed.), Aristoteles "Politik" : Akten des XI. Symposium Aristotelicum, Friedrichshafen/Bodensee, 25.8. - 3.9. 1987, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, pp. 202-213.

On êthos in painting and Aristotle thought see bibliography on 133.

Further : Aubonnet, J. 1989, Aristote Politique, Tome III, part 2, Les Belles Lettres, Paris.

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