Saturday, 11 August 2012

Posters of famous paintings, tasteless or not?

Is it cheap to have copies of famous paintings on one's wall? I do not mean in the way that the paintings are forged, and the owner claims they are real. I mean the way that the copies are bought from an art museum's exhibition for example.

The painting is at the right-angle, me taking the pic wasn't
In my case I have seen wonderful pieces of art, fell in love with them and then I have seen that the museum sells posters or postcards of that painting. For example on the right is a picture from my living room. In the frame's is a poster of Vincent Van Gogh's Skull with a burning cigarette. In real life it is about the same size and when I pictured it at my apartment I wanted to have really massive baroque frames but could not find those at the time. Eventhough I ought to change the frames, I still occasionally stop to just look at it and think about how wonderful the brush strokes are and how it is so 3D considering other paintings of Van Gogh.

So, I claim that at least some famous masterpieces can look good in posters. But try to imagine Rembrandt's Night Watch at a student dormroom's wall. There is no way it could be the same size as the original and therefore a part of it's power and effect on the viewer is gone.

Framed postcards and a part of my bookshelf
That exactly has happened with these art works at the left. Those are postcards of Outi Heiskanen's paintings. I bought them as a memory from an art exhibition, since there was no chance I, being a student, could buy one for real. The lowest one on the wall is Pilvihippa which roughly translates to "Hide and seek in the coulds". In real life it is 29X38cm so all little details can not be seen. Long story short, they are all individual paintings, but I made a collage of them. I think it looks pretty and light, but someone could well think it is totally tastless and lower-middle class.

The source
The latest replica I have bought is Georgia O'Keeffe's Horse's Skull with White Rose and luckyly the museum had made the posters allmost exactly the same size. I have not put mine in frames yet, so here is a picture of it from the O'Keeffe Museum's pages. O'Keeffe has made many elegant and intensive paintings of bones she found at the Mexico landscape.

Two weeks ago I did not know of O'Keeffe, but on my vacation I stumbled to a art museum and voilà! Had that funny feeling under my breastbone again. :D


  1. You are right: I rather have a poster of a masterpiece on my wall, than an ugly original. ^^

    1. True, an original is also going to cost more, so then at least it ought to look good! :D