Philosophical paintings

Out of the Cave

This oil painting is a work in progress.

Size: 48″×72″

Medium: Oil on Canvas


This is a painting about enlightenment. It is the second in a series depicting Plato’s Cave Analogy (see posted descriptions). In the first painting, which sold in China earlier this year, I painted a woman on the floor of the cave, shielding her eyes from the light. She wanted to stay in the cave, in the realm of opinion and belief.

However, she overcame her fear and accomplished the ascent out of the cave. She is in the realm of knowledge and true understanding, which Plato calls the realm of the Ideals or Forms.

The main character is depicted here in three stages of growth. First, she is sitting in the lower half of the canvas, sitting with her head veiled and looking down at a statue. The statue represents the shadows or reflections of things.

Next she sits on the right, slightly higher than before, with the veil falling to her shoulders. According to Plato, she is able to look at things themselves as well as the stars and the moon; these are metaphors for her newfound understanding of mathematics.

In the final stage of her process of enlightenment, she sheds her veil and welcomes the sun. The metaphor of the sun represents dialectical reason, and knowledge of the Ideals, such as True Beauty, True Justice, and so on.

I envision this piece on a feature wall of a prominent business, contemporary home, or progressive university.

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