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Should one experience an additional esthetic response to a work of art that is known to be done by the artist's or sculptor's own hand rather than a later, exact reproduction or skilled forgery?

asked Mar 05 at 17:01

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c_andrew ♦

It seems to me that the entirety of the esthetic response should be warranted by the physical object portrayed as it relates to your own metaphysical value judgements, not by any knowledge of the art work's provenance. Otherwise, if one were falsely informed that the artwork being viewed was the original composition and not a copy or reproduction, the additional frisson of delight evoked by that (false) knowledge would taint the legitimacy of the esthetic response.

I think that what the knowledge of being in the presence of the original artwork adds is not a component of the esthetic response per se, but rather the delight of the 'collector'. I have, on occasion, read from first edition works of literature, but that did not change my enjoyment of the literature itself.

I am open to the possibility that different art modes may engender a heavier weight to the influence of the presence of an original to the esthetic experience, but am at a loss to explain why that should be, outside of the previously posited collector's impulse. For instance, I don't think that an esthetic response to a production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake using original orchestration, sets, and choreography would be degraded by the fact it was a reproduction of the original. Nor am I sure that the same exercise - a historical restoration of the ballet - would enhance the esthetic experience outside of whatever artistic values that the production itself already holds, leaving aside the the question of the historical values of the restored version.

If others have a generalization as to why the presence of an original work of art should evoke a superior esthetic response (contrary to my reasoning above), particularly if you can consistently explain that response between various disciplines (painting, sculpture, music, dance, etc.) I would be interested.

Absent such a presentation, however, I think that the answer is that the presence of the original artwork holds no influence on the esthetic response.

answered Mar 05 at 17:12

c_andrew's gravatar image

c_andrew ♦

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Asked: Mar 05 at 17:01

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Last updated: Mar 05 at 17:12