MAIN SPACE | 08.05.2022 – 31.07.2022


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When we inquire after the value and the significance of a work of art, the scholarly study, historical context, and public recognition of the work play a major role. But what are our criteria and standards when it comes to works that copy those which someone else has created in the “original”? The exhibition shows plaster casts, copies of paintings, graphics, and architectural models from the nineteeth century that admit different perspectives on this issue. 
Based on examples such as the larger-than-life plaster casts of the Venus de Milo, the Belvedere Torso, or of Louis Castelli’s monumental copy of Raphael’s Sistine Madonna, it explores to what extent the reproductions of a work of art prompt us to reconsider values such as originality, provenance, and authorship. Equally, are multiple chains of reproduction not indeed also a yardstick of the importance of a work? And in the first encounter between viewer and artwork, does it even matter whether it is an original or areplica?

The exhibition is sponsored by the Lindenau-Museum in Altenburg. That museum’s collections, which were established by Bernhard August von Lindenau, are an impressive example of a practice that involves the simultaneous presentation of originals, copies, plaster casts and models.

Photo credits: Belvedere Torso reconstructed as the pensive Ajax, © Staatliche Antikensammlungen and Glyptothek, Munich; design: Carmen Strzelecki, Cologne 
The art of replication | © Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek München, Gestaltung: Carmen Strzelecki, Köln