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Approach to AestheticsCollected Papers on Philosophical Aesthetics$
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Frank Sibley, John Benson, Betty Redfern, and Jeremy Roxbee Cox

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198238997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198238991.001.0001

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Why the Mona Lisa May not Be a Painting

Why the Mona Lisa May not Be a Painting

(p.256) 16 Why the Mona Lisa May not Be a Painting
Approach to Aesthetics

Frank Sibley

Oxford University Press

Challenges the assumption that paintings and sculptures are identical with physical objects and that, as a consequence, they are not subject to the type-token distinction. Since our knowledge and appreciation of vast ranges of art depends upon copies, on prints, on illustrated art books that most lovers of painting own, on colour slides and television programmes, it seems that there is no strong case for denying that reproductions of the Mona Lisa are tokens of a type. This claim goes beyond the view that with increasing accuracy in reproduction of art objects, the closer we get to what is valuable – Sibley thinks we are already there. He concludes that either the concept we have of a painting may be internally inconsistent or that there may be two concepts of painting, one in which the work of art is identical with a physical object and the other in which it admits the type-token distinction.

Keywords:   art, Frank Sibley, Mona Lisa, object, painting, reproductions, type-token distinction

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