What is the meaning of art is an imitation?

In The Republic, Plato says that art imitates the objects and events of everyday life. In other words, a work of art is a copy of a copy of a Form. It's even more of an illusion than ordinary experience. According to this theory, works of art are, at best, entertainment and, at worst, a dangerous illusion.

Plato stated that when artists make or represent art they are imitating. Art imitates physical things (objects or events). Physical things imitate forms (read Plato's Theory of Forms). Therefore, art is the copy of a copy, the third one removed from reality.

In Book X of the Republic, Plato describes the metaphor of the three beds. A bed is an idea created by God. The second bed is created by a carpenter who, when building the bed, imitates the idea of God. The painter then paints the bed and, in doing so, imitates the bed created by the carpenter.

In this context, the artist's bed is doubly removed from the truth. According to ancient Greek philosophy, art imitates life. Works of art, therefore, must try to accurately resemble real-life subjects. It is this imitation that creates an aesthetic or artistic response in the observer.

Returning to the adage that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, Aristotle and Plato suggest that only when the viewer fixates on a precise imitation of a subject can it be considered a true work of art.