ARTH 589
Imitation, Copy, Reproduction Spring 2023
Division I

Class Details

Focusing primarily on European and American art before 1900, this course addresses the related categories of imitation, copy, and reproduction with particular attention to prints and other works of art on paper. We will consider the status of the multiple, the role of imitation in classical art theory and pedagogy, the motivations for (and protections against) different kinds of copying, the emergence of photomechanical processes, and the centrality of reproducible images to the art-historical enterprise, among other topics. The basis of our investigations will be works from the Clark’s own collection, to be studied with a close eye to their medium and materiality. We will explore concepts of originality, fidelity, authenticity, and value in the light of critical and theoretical texts, while also examining the historical conditions that underlie distinct instances of image reproduction. This course will take place in the Manton Study Center for Works on Paper. Each session will offer direct engagement with works in the Clark’s permanent collection. The course will also benefit from the exhibition Promenades on Paper: French Eighteenth-Century Drawings from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, which will be on view from December 17, 2022 through March 12, 2023 in the Clark Center.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 3641
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: seminar presentation; research paper (approx 20pp)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: MA students, then advanced art history major undergrads
Distributions: Division I
Attributes: ARTH pre-1800 Courses

Class Grid

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