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The Possibility of Copying: From the Example of Fresco Copying
Miyamoto Michio
Professor, Kyoto City University of Arts
Cutting out a square of fresco and transmitting it onto a plane of square paper falls into the category of “copying”. If the copier only pursues a surface likeness, then the copied product will definitely have lost something important. A “gap” will be created between the copied piece and the original. From the start, the construction and concept will be influenced by the fragmentary nature of the original piece cut off from the damaged walls of the cave. This “gap" is produced by a break with the iconographic Buddhist image. For any artist who emphasizes the importance of “feeling” and “sense” in a work, the presence of this “gap" undoubtedly means the piece has failed. Therefore it is important to consider ways of shortening this “gap.”
What does a painter wish to express by copying? In the process of copying the artist will run into quite a few problems, so how can these problems be dealt with? Fundamentally the copied work is a reflection of the personality of the artist. The artist should have the ability to understand the method of drawing and realize what aspects are important to preserve for future generations. The artist must decide how to copy a painting which has undergone many historic changes. In order to foster this ability, the artist must accumulate relevant experience and cultivate himself.