Oil painting reproduction

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Oil painting reproductions are paintings that have been created by copying in oils an original oil painting by an artist.

Oil painting reproductions are distinct from original oil painting such as are often of interest to collectors and museums.[1] Oil painting reproduction can, however, sometimes be regarded as artworks in themselves.

Oil painting reproductions can be labeled with several different categories.

  • Studio of: created in the studio of a master artist, perhaps with their supervision or participation.
  • Circle of: a work created by someone associated with the original artist, during or in the years immediately following the artist’s own lifetime.
  • After: an exact or partial imitation of a known work by a famous artist.
  • Style of: an interpretation of the artist’s style done by someone else at a later date.[2]


The traces of oil painting reproduction are found since 16th century.[3] Traditionally, students of the old masters learned how to paint by working in the style of their teachers.

This process of mimicking their master’s work would enable a student to practice a skilled mode of painting before developing their own approach. Many famous artists employed this practice, such as John Singer Sargent, Edgar Degas, and Pablo Picasso.[2]

Perhaps the most well known of all students who learned by reproduction was Leonardo da Vinci. Beginning as an apprentice under the master sculptor and painter Andrea Del Verrocchio, Leonardo would have learned to paint in the style of the master himself. It is said that after Leonardo brilliantly aided Verrocchio in the painting of The Baptism of Christ, the master resolved to never touch a brush again[4]


Copyright issues[edit]

There are several issues related to art forgery and copyright violation that applies to the reproduction of oil paintings.[5] The copyright laws varies from country to country but in the U.S. however there is no copyright infringement that applies to a painting 70 years after the death of its artist.[6][7][8]


  1. ^ Honan, William (September 3, 1991). "Into an Age of Fake Art: A Very Real Quandary". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "After the Masters: Understanding and Collecting Old Master Copies". Invaluable. October 24, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  3. ^ "History of Oil Paint". Cyberlipid Center. Archived from the original on September 16, 2009. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  4. ^ Vasari, Giorgio (1914). Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects. G. Bell & Sons. OCLC 498456322.
  5. ^ Schultz, Jennifer (September 21, 2010). "When It's Illegal to Photograph Artwork". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  6. ^ Starr, Bernard. "Must You Pay to Use Photos of Public Domain Artworks? No, Says a Legal Expert". HuffPost. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  7. ^ Cohen, Patricia (April 24, 2012). "Art Is Long; Copyrights Can Even Be Longer". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  8. ^ Liptak, Adam (March 21, 2011). "Once in the Public's Hands, Now Back in Picasso's". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2015.