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what did picasso mean by “Good artists copy, great artists steal”?

23 Answers

  • M T
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Every artist is influenced by what has been done before their time. If not by direct exposure, the information the artist is exposed to through other people, media, etc. influences them. We are all a product of our times and have the benefit of those who have walked similar paths we are now on.

    We all borrow because it has all been done before and we are not the originators. To merely copy is to take an existing interpretation and not run away with it. To steal an idea is to take something of value and make it yours. To make an artistic element yours you have to interpret it your way with your own approach.

    This cannot be done when you are merely copying the idea. When copying the idea you are just doing everything exactly like it was previously done. When you have done it your way you have used the element and not simply duplicated it.

    It is not required that you advance the element. You can go sideways and even backwards with the idea and you can be stealing the element and not copying it. On the contrary, when merely copying the element you have failed if you do not match the original.

  • 6 years ago

    STEALING WHAT??? Could the great artist be stealing the spotlight? Or maybe the meaning of the word "steal" is not the 1st meaning which comes to mind. Perhaps, Picasso was using the 2nd meaning of the word "Steal"- ( to accomplish in a concealed or unobserved manner.) This quote is truly magnificent because it has multiple interpretations.If an artist copies/steals another artists work they produce replicas/duplicates. So how could a great artist steal something that is already theirs?

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Steal Meaning

  • 6 years ago

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    what did picasso mean by “Good artists copy, great artists steal”?

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  • 7 years ago

    “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” — Pablo Picasso (allegedly)

    Fine artists take this to be an explanation of the difference between artists who copy their peers

    and artists who assimilate the ideas of their peers. It’s a clever quote, once you think it through: if

    you simply copy (borrow) ideas from other designers, they’re doing all the work while you take

    some of the credit. But if you instead learn (steal) from another design, you’ve incorporated the

    ideas and grown as a designer. After all, we all build on the works of our predecessors to a degree.

    From "The Web Designer’s Roadmap" book by Giovanni DiFeterici -

  • Aleen
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site

    A work of art, a painting, sculpture, print, etc. is obviously NOT the subject itself, merely a representation of the subject. So it is a "lie" in that it is not actually the thing it represents. Artists observe a subject and perceive a certain "truth" about them, something that strikes them as inspiring and worthy of interpretation and then, must have the ability to convey how THEY view that subject to the audience as faithfully to their vision as they can. This is not to say Picasso is arguing that artists have a duty to accurately present subjects as faithfully as they can as they appear in nature, but rather, be faithful to what it is that the artist sees in their heart and mind about the subject that inspired them in the first place. Then, by viewing the "lie"-the work of art- the audience can also experience the "truth" of the subject.

  • 7 years ago

    In the simplest way I can think of I feel that he was saying sure you can take someones good work and be good yourself by copying it but if you want to be great steal that idea or work and make it amazing don't just.

  • 1 decade ago

    What Picasso meant was that great artists rummage through the great junk heap of lost, bypassed, and forgotten ideas to find the rare jewels, and then incorporate such languishing gems into their own personal artistic legacy… Picasso implied that great artists don't get caught stealing because what they appropriate they transform so thoroughly into their own persona, that everyone ends up thinking the great idea was theirs in the first place.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    I'm not exactly sure, but I just wanted to say Pablo Picasso is NOT from the Renaissance.

  • 6 years ago

    The most ignorant words ever uttered in the art world. Stealing and copying is vile. Your art is based on your own life's experience, to imitate is just an ugly empty experience. What ever Picasso meant when he said those words is beyond me. It reminds me of monkeys, they are great at copying.

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