I think that the reproduction of masterpieces can be an extremely valuable tool, particularly in the realm of teaching. In most cases, it is impossible to bring your class to the original artwork...however, with today's technology and reproductions, you can bring the masterpiece to the classroom. I do however recognize that having the experience of viewing the original piece of art is preferable. When viewing an image of a fresco for instance, the beauty of the texture and even the aging is lost in translation. Unfortunately, many famous pieces of artwork have been mass produced and become commercialized commodities. In this case, I do not support the use of reproductions when they are so overly used that the viewer becomes blase the work. DaVinci's Mona Lisa and Monet's Waterlillies are just two examples of artwork that has been translated not only into prints, but tshirts, magnets, coffee table coasters, mousepads etc. I'm sorry, but there is something wrong when we are resting our coffee mugs a top these pieces of art.
Greenaway however, utilizes a masterpiece in a respectful manner. He has been inspired by the original painting and created another beautiful piece of art in response. I do think it is controversial however, that he was allowed to project his film on the original work. How can we be absolutely sure that this is really not damaging the piece...even if the "proper" precautions have been taken. It just seems too risky. It was however, only allowed once...so it's still debatable. His respectful and carefully reproduction of the original is allowing others to appreciate his work in as realistic a setting while still protecting the original painting. Maybe this is not the optimal viewing experience, but I'd say it's pretty close. When care, time, and expertise is applied to reproducing a piece of art it is acceptable. Particularly when the work may be aging...would it be better if it was lost forever? I don't think so. The context and use of a reproduction seems to be of principle importance.