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This blog is an interactive journal of one artist's creative evolution with an invitation to all artists to share their own.
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Apprentices and other artists often copied the works of accomplished artists to learn technique and for practice. Several schools of art today also teach copying photos and images such as from magazines, cards, and calendars.
Nothing wrong with that as long as your copies go into your sketchbook labelled. From there you can use what you learned in your own composition.
"A Recent Discovery
An important copy of the Mona Lisa was recently discovered in the collection of the Prado in Madrid. The background had been painted over, but when the painting was cleaned, scientific analysis revealed that the copy was likely painted by another artist who sat beside Leonardo and copied his work, brush-stroke by brush-stroke. The copy gives us an idea of what the Mona Lisa might look like if layers of yellowed varnish were removed.
Left: Unknown, Mona Lisa, c. 1503-05, oil on panel (Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid); right: Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, c. 1503-05, oil on panel 30-1/4 x 21 inches (Musée du Louvre)"