Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

Leonardo da Vinci, Manet, Rodin, Bacon, Emin, Perry, Warhol, Levine, Dali

Date/time:
30 April - 02 July 2020
Thursdays 10.45am - 12.45pm
Venue:
The University Women’s Club, 2 Audley Square, London W1K 1DB
Lecturer:
Dr. Marie-Anne Mancio
Fees:
Full course (10 sessions) £499.00
Single lecture £59.00
(includes morning coffee, tea and biscuits)

Book your place now on Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

“Erudite, articulate, thought‐provoking”

Art is not made in a vacuum and, as Picasso recognised, the question of ownership in art – whether of images or ideas – is contentious. The notion of copying was once distinct from imitation and plagiarism was not stigmatised as it is now. Even originality was a nineteenth century notion. Artists have always borrowed, or stolen from one another in all sorts of ways. Sometimes they’ve lifted a figure from one composition to transpose it into another; other times they have re‐presented another artist’s entire work as their own. Discover how contemporary art and the art of the past are much closer than you think.

The Thinker, Auguste Rodin
J. E. Blanche, Jean Cocteau, 1913 Édouard Manet, Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe

Course outline

30
Apr
2020
Influence

‘Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master’ (Leonardo da Vinci)

For Renaissance artists, copying, assimilating, and then surpassing their contemporaries was an essential part of their training and bore no stigma. Gossaert borrowed from Durer, Raphael from Leonardo, and so forth. Discover how the concept of paragone inspired them and trace the ways in which they quoted one another.

07
May
2020
Prestige

‘No one can be a painter unless he cares for painting above all else’ (Manet)

Manet’s notorious ‘Dejeuner sur l’herbe’ was not wholly his own composition but from whom did he borrow and why? Explore how some of the most shocking artists of the 19th century made their modernity more palatable by echoing established art of previous centuries.

14
May
2020
Rediscovery

‘I invent nothing, I rediscover’ (Rodin)

The rediscovery of the classical world, including the excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii in the 18th century would inspire new generations of artists, architects, and designers like Robert Adam, manufacturer, Josiah Wedgwood, Flaxman, Palladio, and later Rodin. But even before that, Renaissance artists like Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Titian were referencing the antique.

21
May
2020
Distortion

‘What I want to do is to distort the thing far beyond the appearance, but in the distortion to bring it back to a recording of the appearance’ (Francis Bacon)

Bacon borrowed from Cimabue, Velasquez, Poussin, Eisenstein, newspaper photographs, and more to develop a new pictorial language. Unpick the myriad artists that appear in his oeuvre and that of others.

28
May
2020
Abjection

‘Most people don’t do something seminal. I’ve done it twice: with my tent and my bed’ (Tracey Emin)

In 1999, Emin’s My Bed was perhaps the most controversial non‐winner of the Turner Prize ever. Yet it drew on all kinds of precedents including the paintings of Munch, Schiele’s drawings, Picasso’s late works, and so on. It also inspired other artists.

04
Jun
2020
Deconstruction

‘An original artist is unable to copy. So he has only to copy in order to be original’ (Jean Cocteau)

Some artists have deconstructed the art of the past to make political points. From a bruise‐battered ‘Lady with the Ermine’ to a deconstructed Frida Kahlo garment, see how painters, photographers, architects, fashion and furniture designers have turned to the past to shine a spotlight on the present.

11
Jun
2020
Parody

‘Art history is a global version of that old children’s game Chinese whispers’ (Grayson Perry)

Arguably Hogarth was one of Britain’s first artists to be considered quintessentially British because of his themes and ‘National Treasure,’ Grayson Perry, has explicitly referenced him. Before him, Duchamp also used humour in his treatment of ‘masterpieces.’

18
Jun
2020
Transformation

‘People do tend to avoid new realities; they’d rather just add details to the old ones. It’s as simple as that’ (Andy Warhol)

The King of Pop Art, Warhol was known for borrowing images from brands, logos, pictures and newspaper articles – essentially, popular culture – and transforming them into high art. But how was he sampled by subsequent artists like YBA Gavin Turk and 1980s superstar Jeff Koons?

25
Jun
2020
Theft

‘Every word, every image, is leased and mortgaged’ (Sherrie Levine)

In the 1980s and 90s, appropriation was the new fashion with artists like Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, and Elaine Sturtevant borrowing other artworks outright. How do these differ from professional copyists or forgers? And what’s changed since Durer threatened to murder a copyist?

02
Jul
2020
Back to the Future

‘Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing’ (Salvador Dali)

With the enforcement of copyright laws hampering artists’ abilities to use ‘found’ images such as newspaper photographs for fear of being sued, and with the proliferation of digital culture, has ‘stealing’ become subtler? Discuss the future of art.