In the art world, replicas are typically thought to be of low value. However skillfully created, they remain in the eyes of many mere copies, pointing toward an original of greater significance. In recent years, however, replicas and multiples have come to occupy a more central position in discussions about ancient, medieval, and early modern art.
Multiples in Pre-Modern Art looks at the production and reception of replicas and multiples before the nineteenth century. A wide variety of media are considered, including metal, marble, terra cotta, textiles, plaster, porcelain, canvas, wood, and wax. Through a series of questions—What happens if a copy purposely points not to an original but to another copy? What does it matter that some serially made multiples are not identical?—many of the works are reappraised as significant art forms in their own right.