Plato's theory is that art is an imitation of an imitation, which is obviously flawed. However, imitation is a word that has negative connotations, along with like "copying". When we were kids, "hey! he's copying me!" was never good. So, therefore, the word "influenced" is easier to swallow when discussing art. Which leads to the question, is any art truly original these days? Just like in the days of Plato, there are outside influences surrounding anyone and everyone. Nowadays, I'm sure outside influence plays even a bigger role. We are constantly bombarded with outside things that are inevitably going to influence any art, but art should still not be considered an imitation of anything, unless it is striving to be. Every art piece has something different, something original, that means it is not a complete imitation.
Also, how did Plato even think that art could be devoid of emotion? Even that pipe in the painting evokes some sort of emotion, even if it is just laughter. Plato had the belief that the more emotion that is in the art, the farther from the truth is. My question is if that's true, the more something evokes emotion, the farther from the truth it becomes?