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Walter Cupperi: Never Identical: Multiples in Pre-Modern Art
Never Identical: Multiples in Pre-Modern Art
(p. 7 – 30)

Walter Cupperi

Never Identical: Multiples in Pre-Modern Art

PDF, 24 pages

  • identity
  • seriality
  • science of art
  • art history
  • authorship
  • index
  • multiples
  • replicas

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Walter Cupperi

is an art historian. He studied at the University of Pisa (M.A.) and at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (diploma di licenza and Ph.D.). He is currently an Exzellenziniziative Research Fellow at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität of Munich. His areas of special interest include the reception of Italian Renaissance art outside of Italy, sculpture, metalwork and serial production in the period spanning the 14th to the 16th century, cultural exchange and transcultural processes in the European Habsburg dominions, as well as several aspects of classical tradition in the visual arts (casts after the antique, collections of antiquities and re-use).

Other texts by Walter Cupperi for DIAPHANES
Walter Cupperi (ed.): Multiples in Pre-Modern Art

Walter Cupperi (ed.)

Multiples in Pre-Modern Art

Hardcover, 304 pages

PDF, 304 pages

In the last years replicated objects have gained an increasingly central position in the discourse about ancient, medieval and early modern art. ›Multiples‹, we are often told, lack uniqueness, invention, autonomy, and sometimes even authorship. Indeed, ›multiples‹ can be powerful multipliers – in that they enhance the ›aura of the originals‹ that they replicate – but they remain secondary indexes pointing to an ›original‹ imbued with significance. Yet, what happens if ›multiples‹ do not refer to other artifacts at all, or if they are associated with other ›multiples‹ rather than with a first version in the mind of their owners? What happened when serially-made ›multiples‹ were not quite identical to each other, as was the rule with pre-modern artifacts? What shaped their identity and the perception of them as identical?
This collection of essays explores different forms of interaction between the making of artifacts in more than one specimen and their reception before the nineteenth century. It addresses media such as metal, wax, plaster, terracotta, textiles, marble, ivory, porcelain, canvases and tables in an attempt to re-assess the current identification of the mediality of prints with that of pre-modern ›multiples‹ in general.