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Old 11-23-2017, 04:53 PM
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Armadillobelly Armadillobelly is offline
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Books with high quality master painting reproductions for copying/study

Hi Everyone. I'm looking for books with large, high quality (non-glossy) reproductions of master paintings and little to no text. Old masters are preferred, but anything up to the impressionists would be fine. This is for studying.

There are lots of books filled with the same old platitudes that teach you nothing new. And art history books are mainly filled with analysis and the reproductions are often small and poorly printed.

There must be books out there that are good for people who want to learn the old fashioned way... by copying the masters? Right? It's possible to find these paintings online with high-quality scans, but printing them out can get very expensive, which is why a book makes sense.
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Old 11-24-2017, 05:45 AM
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Journeyman Journeyman is offline
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Re: Books with high quality master painting reproductions for copying/study

My favourite thing to copy from the masters are their drawings, because a lot of the drawings are relatively small so are often reproduced close to the original size. Thing to look for are catalogues produced to go along with exhibitions. Some catalogues are excellent and have good reproductions.

Trouble with the paintings is the poor reproducing of colour in the prints. Added to this is the scale, although some paintings such as Juan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait are small and can be produced full size most paintings have to be considerably reduced to fit in the Book Format.
If you are going to go to the trouble of copying a master one way is to find something in a locale museum, most museums encourage serious study and will allow you to copy.

“What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?”
— Allen Ginsberg
Are you ready for a Journey?
PS Critiques always welcome but no plaudits or emoting please.
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Old 11-25-2017, 08:15 AM
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Armadillobelly Armadillobelly is offline
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Re: Books with high quality master painting reproductions for copying/study

Dave, thank you for the honest reply. I might revisit the idea of printing a high-resolution file (if I can find a good one). A printing lab can output very large copies at $10/meter. This might get around some of the scale issues. Color is very relative anyway so as long as the value transitions are intact it doesn't matter as much. I'm not out to make precise copies. In many ways, the lessons to be learned from master paintings (in my opinion, that is) are more about composition, values, and other structural and formal aspects of creating a successful painting. You can get a good sense of this from even a book-sized reproduction -- although, obviously, the bigger it is, and the better the reproduction, the more can be learned. I find that glossy paper really hurts the most, so that's why I'm also considering doing my own prints on matte paper at a print shop...if I can find big enough digital files. Going to a museum would indeed be the absolute best. But for practical purposes it's not possible for me (no museums nearby...cost of travel...time restrictions...etc...). Maybe when I'm retired I'll apply for a spot at the Louvre. That would be a dream come true for me.
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Old 11-25-2017, 10:20 AM
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Use Her Name Use Her Name is offline
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Re: Books with high quality master painting reproductions for copying/study

I have one book of a series published in 1976, by Phaidon/Oxford, E.P.Dutton Press ISBN 0714817481 which has a biographical portion in regular paper, and then an "art" section in glossy full page (some detail, but most full painting). This book originally was 6-7 dollars, and you can find them on line for a few bucks.

The pages are 9X12 inches (23X30 cm)
At the time of the printing, the series included artists like Botticelli, El Greco, Gauguin, Manet, Turner and about 30 others.

The pictures are gorgeous, full page, and the prices of the books are cheap.


By the way, also, many cities have "Library Societies" which can be joined for 5-10 dollars. Often every year, they have library book sales, and you can find many large beautiful pre-used art books for pennies on the dollar. This is well worth it if you desire to build up a good art book collection.

Last edited by Use Her Name : 11-25-2017 at 10:28 AM.
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