3D printed copies - as good as the real thing?

March 1 2017

Image of 3D printed copies - as good as the real thing?

Picture: Guardian, Veronese’s Wedding at Cana, replicated by Factum Arte.

In The Guardian, Jonathan Jones says that 3D printed copies by the likes of Factum Arte (mentioned previously on AHN here) will transform the way we see art:

[...] the work of Factum Arte, a Madrid-based studio whose combination of digital analysis with assiduous craft is transforming the way we see art. I have been watching their work develop for nearly a decade. I am now convinced it is the most important thing happening in 21st-century art – because it can quite literally save civilisation.

The new kind of high-fidelity 3D reproduction being pioneered by Factum Arte is going to abolish the difference between past and present and make distance no obstacle to seeing any masterpiece. We are entering an age when museums can – this is no hyperbole – have their own perfect replicas of the Sistine Chapel, Titian’s Assumption in the Frari church from Venice, or Mantegna’s Camera degli Sposi from Mantua.

I've never seen one of Factum Arte's copies, so I must reserve judgement. But surely a copy's a copy, no matter how good it is? Nothing can replace the magic of an original. Once we accept that art is all about replication, rather than creation, and a tangible link to the time and person that created it, then we might as well pack up and go home. 

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