Saturday, February 4, 2012

Reading response to Walter Benjamin

Benjamin wrote of how a work of art is reproducible and imitated, this made me think of the resent discovery of a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" that was painted by a pupil of his. The discovery being that it was painted around the same time as the original was created, giving history to the time of existence not only to this piece but to Leonardo da Vinci's as well.

What I understand from this is that Benjamin speaks of the work of art as the use of skill and imagination in the creation of objects, experiences, environments that are shared with others in a sense of trying to expose what constitutes art. However, the question is a trick question even to this day, what is art, what distinguishes it? What satisfies that definition and our perception of it?


  1. And the opposition set up between an "original" and a copy was interesting to me because, as more and more works are produced digitally, their "original" is just a strand of code. As time goes on, will we find that the computers or other hardware that masterpieces were made on will become auction items or equivalents to first editions? Probably not, but it's interesting.

    1. I like this idea that the code or machine that reproduces a masterpiece might someday be valuable. Who knows?

      I also wonder too about the idea of time. That the Mona Lisa was sort of painted by two folks at the same time is interesting. Is daVinci's so valuable then because it is authentic? Does the moment of creation become important too and the moment of viewing? I mean I have seen the Mona Lisa on coffee cups and on posters but it feels worth more at the museum. Why is that? Can I really experience it better from behind a rope and packed in next to a zillion other visitors in a museum than I can online? But only one feels like "art", right?