Avoid Copies, Reproductions or Fake Paintings
It usually happens that the original paintings produced by the artist could be copied, so they are reproduced in the most faithful way in terms of shape, technique and style. The frequency of this phenomenon is linked, on the one hand, to the commercial success of the work, on the other to its ability to act as a "model" for other artists. The fundamental task of the classical archaeologist and of the art historian is, therefore, to distinguish between the copy and the original.
Different is the case of graphic techniques and contemporary artistic production, which produces an object already replicable by its own nature. The photographic reproduction of the work of art was made possible, thanks to the improvement of printing techniques, from the late nineteenth century; until then, it was necessary to transfer the works to be reproduced into engravings, which underwent unavoidable modifications and reductions in the transfer.
The introduction of photographic reproduction has determined a decisive turning point in critical activity, which has thus been able to dispose of a vast comparison material. In Italy, some companies devoted themselves to systematically censoring the artistic heritage, constituting fundamental archives of documentation. The introduction of color on an industrial scale has allowed the diffusion of cheap reproductions for the mass and the multiplication of publishing initiatives that have played an important role in education and information.
The falsification of an original work is a phenomenon closely linked to the market and to the laws of supply and demand. Falsehood is not a property inherent to the object, but to the intention of those who make it. It is therefore necessary, even for legal purposes, to prove the fraud. Fakes, a species of abbreviation that translates the ancient work of art into a contemporary language, also take on a significant critical interest, as a symptom of a taste, a way of reading art from the past. In fact, during the Renaissance, fakes of statues, gems and coins were realized, but they were mainly copies requested by the amateurs to complete their collections. The counterfeiting activity continued over the years up to the present day.