Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I have no problem with “clones” to the extent that they broaden the audience of art. As the article mentions, a century ago many museums were filled with collections of replicas. Obviously there is something to be said for seeing the original artwork in person, and of course this heightens the prestige of the actual museum as well, but museums are like libraries in the sense that they bring artwork to the masses; the more people that can view them the better.

Artwork in chapels used to be painted over and refurbished by hand all the time so that paintings would stand the test of time. Now with cloning it’s possible to recreate the artwork down to minute details with the help of technology. Essentially the same thing is happening but the original artwork is not being touched. And one could argue that “cloning” is another art form.

That said, I think Greenaway’s intention of revitalizing great paintings is a great one because, and I agree, “we have lost the knack of really seeing [the art].” Greenaway manages to do this in a very interesting and provocative way with recreating the play of light cast on the painting. And to have this performance recreated in the actual refectory I would image would be quite stunning. However, what bothered me about the Greenaway filming was that because Greenaway is a famous filmmaker he was allowed to project light onto the actual Last Supper when the average person can’t even take a picture of the painting with a flash. The refectory in it’s entirety could have been recreated and staged with the clone inside and would have produced the same effect.

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