The copy and its uses in late Gothic painting


We present the monograph La copia y sus usos en la pintura tardogótica. Tiempo, memoria e identidad (The copy and its uses in late Gothic painting. Time, memory and identity) result of our interest in the phenomenon of copying in the late medieval period that attempts to explain from a multiple and interdisciplinary perspective the reason for its use, evolution and social, historical and economic consideration. The genesis and initial approach of the book is indebted, among other inspirations, to the emblematic text In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust with its continuous references to the medieval imagination and the evocative power of memory.

One of its best-known fragments concerns the description of the church of Combray (France) as a four-dimensional space by incorporating a fourth into the canonical measurements - length, width and height -: the temporality of the god Cronus. The synchronic time, typical of the building, and the diachronic time, corresponding to the passing of the centuries and the different characters who have inhabited it and have had different perceptions of it.

Under that prism, it seemed appropriate to dedicate our research to the topic of copying, calibrating how time (or times) have marked a heterogeneous approach and assessment of this artistic phenomenon, from the current historiographical revitalization to the pejorative image coined in modern times by its alleged contrast to the concept of originality, passing through the multiple uses and functions adopted in the medieval period. This is the common thread of the nine works written by different specialists that structure an index organized into two thematic blocks dedicated to copying and copies, in the broadest sense, and with a conceptual nod to the title of the research project sponsored by this publication -Corte y Cortes en el Tardogotico Hispano-, and to the important work of Erwin Panofsky, Renaissance and Renaissances in Western Art, which defines the distinction between the different modes of copying, taking into account their uses, location, objectives or clients. The articles in the second block focus on the relationship between the use and evolution of copies and their process of creation, reproduction, interpretation or commercialization.