Idealism (art)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The argument regarding the aesthetic of painting, which continued to gain adherence since the Renaissance, was of the importance of allegory; the use of the pictorial elements of painting such as line and color to convey an ultimate unifying theme or idea. For this reason an idealism was adopted in art, whereby forms seen in nature would be generalized, and in turn subordinated to the unity of the artwork. It aimed at universal truth through the imitation of "la belle nature". Many dissenting theorists of the time (such as Gotthold Ephraim Lessing) held that this focus on allegory was faulty and based on a wrong analogy between the plastic arts and poetry rooted in the Horatian dictum ut pictura poesis ("as is painting so is poetry").

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