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date: 23 August 2019

Reproduction of works of artlocked

  • Trevor Fawcett

Extract

This article is principally concerned with the mechanical or semi-mechanical reproduction in two dimensions of paintings, sculpture, drawings and the decorative arts in the Western world. See also Book illustration; Copy; Electroplating; Mass production; Periodical §I; Photography §I; and Prints §III.

The validity of reproductions depends on their acceptance as reasonable substitutes for unavailable ‘original’ works of art. (In turn the concept of ‘originals’ presupposes the existence of reproductions and other derivatives.) Unlike the handmade copy or duplicate, reproductions are created in multiple copies, each one theoretically identical, by means of some partly or wholly mechanized process. The closer they resemble their prototype in dimensions, medium, composition, colour and finish, the more they approach the ideal of facsimile. However, the vast majority of reproductions are executed in a medium different from their originals and on a smaller scale, as for example most engravings or photographs after paintings. Until recently, moreover, black-and-white reproductions have far outnumbered those in colour. With works of sculpture and decorative art a further distancing occurs when three-dimensional forms are converted into two-dimensional images. Such flattened versions may nevertheless often be preferred for their cheapness and convenience over solid replicas such as casts and electrotypes....

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Enciclopedia universale dell’arte, 15 vols (Rome, 1958–67); Eng. trans. as Encyclopedia of World Art (New York, 1959–68)