The Art of Copying

  • D. S. Chambers
Part of the History in Depth book series (HD)


Making and studying sketch copies of the works of others enabled artists to follow recent work and build up their own stock-in-trade of ideas. Cennino Cennini (born c. 1370) in his painter’s manual ‘Il libro dell’Arte’, which was written sometime between 1396 and 1437, recommended as a means to skill ‘constantly copying the best things which you can find done by the hand of great masters. And if you are in a place where many good masters have been, so much the better for you. But I give you this advice: take care to select the best one every time and the one who has the greatest reputation.’1 In some cases this might lead to fresh development; in others to more or less plagiarism. The following order for a reproduction copy2 in fact resulted in a rather modified or more up-to-date version of the original if, as seems almost certain, this is the painting of Giambono’s now in the Accademia Gallery at Venice.3

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. S. Chambers

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations