The Power of Original Art

Original works of Art are simply more powerful than reproductions!

The Summer Wind by Valérie Melançon

“The Summer Wind” by Valérie Melançon

There… I said it…

Deep down, I think we all know this is true. The problem comes in with trying to explain “why”.

I recently sat in on an art discussion about Icons (religious art) hosted by Miranda Lash, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the New Orleans Museum of Art. During the event, Ms. Lash stated “Being in the physical presence of an object has a certain power that is absolutely different from a reproduction or digital image”. Her focus was on religious art, and I believe that distinction between original art and reproductions can be applied across other genres.

Famous Works of Art

People travel the globe to be in the presence of original works of art. Here are a few famous works that most of us are familiar with:

  • Guernica by Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous anti-war works of art.
  • Mona Lisa by Leonardo Di Vinci is one of the best known and most visited portraits.
  • The frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo were originally commissioned in 1508. People are in Vatican City right now to see this amazing original work.

Perhaps you have personally seen one of these works or plan to do so. But why is it so important to see them in person? After all, I just gave you links to view these amazing works of art from the comfort of your home, office, or wherever you are viewing this.

I believe there is much to be said about the human connection associated with the work of artists. I have often referred to artists as translators. Artists translate their personal vision or perspective through the medium of their choice and give all of us the opportunity to see the world from a perspective that is different from our own. This allows us to connect at a higher level.

The Difference that can’t be Replicated

During the creation process, I believe that true artists transfer some element of themselves into their work. This transfer of energy breathes life into art that cannot be replicated through digital or mechanical means. With paintings, the technology for print making and giclées is very good. These reproductions capture all the technical details. They still do not imbue the same emotions as the original. People don’t travel to Paris to see a print of the Mona Lisa.

See for Yourself

Go to a museum and spend some time viewing the works on display. Find an original work on display that really resonates with you, a work that impacts you emotionally. Now go to the museum shop and find a poster, print, or even a picture in a book of the same work. Spend time viewing this reproduction. Does it have the same impact on you as when you were in the presence of the original?

What are your thoughts on the difference between Original Art and reproductions? (Leave a Comment)

Image credit and copyright: Valérie Melançon