What is an “original” painting?
I challenged google with informing me as to what exactly did the word original mean. The information I found was more of a debate than a definitive answer. My query centred around the idea that when an individual artist designs draws and paints a new piece of artwork can that artist produce the same painting again and it also be referred to as an original? For instance in many parts of the world artists make a living painting landmarks like the Eiffle tower, or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, are all their like paintings originals? Or are they copies? Would it make a difference if they did it from life on a different day, or from a differing photos with all sorts of weather changes?
Let’s back up for a moment, what is the definition of the word “original” in this context?
The online oxford dictionaries definition is as follows:
“-created personally by a particular artist, writer, musician, etc.; not a copy”
This would be true of many similar originals….
“-not dependent on other people’s ideas”…
The design is original so this is true too.
“the earliest form of something, from which copies may be made”
So in order to create copies, the copies come from a singular original.
Prints would be included here as copies or reproductions. But surely a painting in another’s likeness is still an original, or is it a copy?
If all the colours and lines were copied absolutely exactly then this would be a copy and not an original. But if the same drawing or design is made without attempt to replicate the first exactly then the drawing will be slightly different and in the organic process of painting there will always be a slight variation in colours (unless one is striving for exact likeness) and so the subsequent painting will be different.
So is it intention that makes up the essence of a second or third original of the same composition? I mean if you intend to make a painting look EXACTLY like the first then there is something deceptive about the end result, as if it might be a trick to make you think one painting is the other and vice versa. But if you paint a painting using the same design or composition for a similar picture with the essence of the first, but which is actually different, surely it is still original.
For me each original should have its own right to independent original status and for reproductions to be made from it. Each time an artist creates a painting many many decisions are made. It is a complex process which under usual circumstances creates a different result from the same (or as similar as possible) drawing. Are you confused, even as write this it is confusing me also, but really i do know exactly what I mean even if really this is not original thinking 🙂
What do you think?