Thursday, December 22, 2005

Step into the world of the pharaohs

On the subject of facsimiles (inspired by Thutmosis III): "We may live in a world where many of our most treasured artworks — from Renaissance copies of Roman copies of Ancient Greek sculptures to Leonardo’s The Last Supper, so extensively restored that arguably the original no longer exists — are replicas. And yet, infused with the powerful spirit of Romanticism, we still crave the essence of the unique. Facsimiles may have their place in the funfair, but when it comes to profound feelings we demand 'authenticity'. Yet the replica can fulfil more than a mere functional role. It is not simply about the wider dissemination of ideas — though from autograph copies by Old Masters to Woolworths’ mass-market prints, the imitation has played an important part in art history. Nor is it only about the re-creation of an experience — though an oleograph hung in place of the family portrait that was flogged to pay death duties can, no doubt, prove consoling. And it is about more than conservation — though Egyptian authorities are developing plans with Factum Arte to make replica tombs in the Valley of the Kings so that both the precious originals and the valuable tourist industry can be preserved".

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