Differentiating between reproductions and original artworks: the influence of style and sequence
In times of fast paced technology, the ability to differentiate quality differences between a reproduction and an original work of art has new urgency. The use of digital reproductions in the classroom is a useful and convenient teaching tool, but can convey visual distortions specifically in regards to texture, size, and color. Art educators often struggle to achieve a balance between incorporating the use of digital technology and fostering an appreciation for experiences with original artworks. The purpose of this study was to examine the ways in which Dewey's theory of experiential learning explains how thoroughly high school students differentiate between a reproduction and original artwork. This study also explored the influences of painting style (realistic or semi-abstract) and sequence on a student's ability to identify the differences and select a preference between the reproduction and original artwork. To obtain insight into how a student is able to differentiate between a reproduction and an original artwork, this study engaged 27 high school student participants in viewing a digital reproduction and the respective original artwork of one realistic and one semi-abstract painting at the ASU Art Museum. Analysis of qualitative and quantitative data suggests that sequence influences a student's ability to differentiate between a reproduction and original artwork. Students who saw reproductions before viewing the originals, demonstrated a more comprehensive understanding of the differences between the two presentation formats. Implications of this study include the recommendation that art educators address definitional issues surrounding the terms original and reproduction in their teaching, and consider collaborative ways to prepare students for meaningful experiences with original artworks.