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Practice What You Preach Department

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We shall still more thoroughly ground the young man, if, on introducing him to poetry, we explain to him that it is an imitative art and agent, analogous to painting. Not only must he be made acquainted with the common saying that poetry is vocal painting, and painting, silent poetry, but he must also teach him that when we see a painting of a lizard, an ape, or the face of Thersites, our pleasure and surprise are occasioned, not by the beauty of the object, but by the likeness of the painting to it. For it is naturally impossible for the ugly to be beautiful, but it is the imitation which is praised, if it reproduce to the life either an ugly or beautiful object. On the contrary, if an ugly object is represented as beautiful, we deny the truthfulness or the consistency of the picture.

How to Study Poetry by Plutarch.