Philosophy’s Use of the Visual Arts


[Paul Klee, “In the Style of Kairouan”]

What works of visual art (paintings, sculpture, photography, drawings, etc.) have philosophers made use of in their written works, either as examples, inspiration, or subjects of study? 

There are undoubtedly instances of this in philosophy of art and aesthetics. It would be interesting to learn which works of art used in other areas of philosophy, too.

Bernard Williams’ use of Gauguin in “Moral Luck” comes to mind, but if I recall correctly he does not name any particular works of art of Gauguin’s, so that would not count as a proper example of what we’re looking for here.

Readers, please share examples in the comments. Include the name of the artist and the title of the specific artwork, along with the philosopher and the title of the philosophical work. Bonus points for links to images of the artwork.

(This post was inspired by a recent interview with Dennis Schmidt (Western Sydney) which covers, among other things, Heidegger’s thoughts on the painter Paul Klee.)

Note: save your examples of visual art featuring philosophical ideas or philosophers, or visual art by philosophers—we’ll cover those in different posts another time.

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