Maybe we can make him another ear...
August 28, 2013 5:31 AM   Subscribe

You know how Van Gogh liked to really slather paint on and his paintings were rather 3D but you couldn't touch them but really wanted to? Now you can. Fujifilm has created a process called Reliefography, which creates 3D-printed versions of paintings called Relievos. They are exclusive to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam for three years, but will move on to other instituions after that time. They can only produce three copies a day, but "the torn labels and hand written notes on the back of a canvas are perfectly recreated".

According to The Guardian article, these aren't just for those trying to get a Van Gogh on the cheap (approx $30,000 as compared to several million for a real one)... "The Relievos will also be used for educational purposes, in schools and for the visually impaired."

3d printing previously
posted by sio42 (29 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
That is, the process is exclusive to the Van Gogh Museum for three years, if that's not clear.
posted by sio42 at 5:35 AM on August 28, 2013


Would you say this process is good enough to fool the noveau riche? Asking for a friend.
posted by yerfatma at 5:36 AM on August 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


This is good. The greatness of Van Gogh simply cannot be understood until you are standing before one of his paintings due to the sculptural qualities. In one day of walking around Amsterdam, my art world got turned upside down by finding out Van Gogh was the better of Rembrandt and Vermeer combined.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:50 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


these aren't just for those trying to get a Van Gogh on the cheap

Yet.

"Exclusive to"

Good luck with that.

And in any case, I imagine the availability of cheap, near-perfect copies would only enhance the value of the one and only original. So long as you can tell which one that is....
posted by three blind mice at 5:52 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is actually pretty cool. I hope they use the tech on a few Pollocks, next.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:55 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I am amazed at how many paintings are so much more amazing in person. I can't remember the artist, so should shut up and not confirm I am an idiot, but the guy paints huge squares. I never understood them when looking in a book, but in person those things are massive and they have such amazing layers and textures. I still wasn't a fan after (thus the memory hole), but at least I understood why the guy was taught in Art Appreciation 101.

Hope this catches on. I have a ton of sculpture I want to run my hands all over. Once we have great copies there will be nothing stopping me from mauling the originals! We can always make more.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:00 AM on August 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Exclusive to"

Good luck with that.


The straw hat wants to be free!
posted by history_denier at 6:00 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


cjorgenson - Mondrian and Rothko both paint squares, albeit in different styles.
posted by sio42 at 6:14 AM on August 28, 2013


I can't remember the artist, so should shut up and not confirm I am an idiot, but the guy paints huge squares.

Rothko. As soon as people started talking about art that's better in person I was like "Ooh, yeah, Rothko." Because I'm with you, I thought that stuff was bullshit until I stopped looking at reproductions and saw some originals.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 6:15 AM on August 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Rothko is so small on the slide projector in art class and so big in real life. It makes a huge (no pun intended, well maybe) difference.
posted by sio42 at 6:17 AM on August 28, 2013


the guy paints huge squares.

While I am enjoying the idea of an artist who only does portraits of geeks, I think you mean Rothko.
posted by litleozy at 6:18 AM on August 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Jesus. How long will it be before I can stroll into my ready room and order tea, Earl Grey, hot?

I remember thinking that Van Gogh's paintings almost seemed more like sculptures than paintings. He built up the surface so much that it looked like you'd still be able to tell what was in the painting by just touching them with your eyes closed.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:19 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


TBM - there is an exclusive partnership between Fujifilm and the museum for 3 years for the process. The process does become available to others after that.
Also, i forget which article has it, but there's apparently some kind of unbreakable authentication seal on the replicas so that you can tell. It will probably just be the new thing that art and antique dealers start looking for in 20 years.
posted by sio42 at 6:20 AM on August 28, 2013


I can't wait to get my hands on some of those. Pencilling a trip in the calendar ...
posted by tilde at 6:27 AM on August 28, 2013


YES YES DO WANT

Also, this:

"The Relievos will also be used for educational purposes, in schools and for the visually impaired."

This is awesome. Museums have often worked very hard to be able to provide tactile experiences for people, especially those with vision issues, but I usually see molds and replica statues or stone pieces being used at art institutions (obviously limited budgets/materials) but a Van Gogh painting replica that you can touch?! Super exciting and I hope a lot of people get to experience art in a new way because of these.
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:33 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Museums have often worked very hard to be able to provide tactile experiences for people

My natural cynicism and stint in museum administration was getting ready to say something similar, but phrased more like, "Museums have often worked very hard to preserve priceless and irreplaceable works of art despite the all-consuming desire of people of all ages and social backgrounds to climb over barriers and ignore multiple levels of signage in order to get pictures of themselves grabbing boobies and weiners represented in all possible forms of artistic media, and then file 'stalking' complaints against security personnel who ask them to stop."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:57 AM on August 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rothko painted rectangles. He may be talking about Mondrian, whose square works look simple in reproduction, but are actually quite heavily textured when seen IRL.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:01 AM on August 28, 2013


Man, now I want to blow off work and get down to AIC.
posted by eriko at 7:05 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


any insight as to why they would cost $30,000 a pop? i mean, i'm sure the process isn't as straightforward as running off a few photocopies, but really? this seems like somewhat of a scam, and a rather shameful way to introduce the technology if the markup is as ridiculous as it seems it might be.
posted by iotic at 7:18 AM on August 28, 2013


As someone who came thisclose to accidentally touching one of the paintings at the Van Gogh museum (I was trying to point out a detail), I appreciate this.
posted by amarynth at 7:20 AM on August 28, 2013


Van Gogh doesn't actually build up very deep layers of paint all that often. There is a popular image of Van Gogh madly heaping great gobs of paint onto his canvasses--but in fact if you look closely at most Van Gogh's what amazes you is the precision and certainty of the strokes. It's not at all uncommon to be able to see quite a lot of the unpainted ground here and there all over the painting in the interstices between strokes of paint. That's not to disagree with those saying that the works have a three-dimensional quality--individual brush strokes were often quite heavily laden with paint and he works a range of effects that have to do with how the brush physically shapes the paint on the canvas--but just to inveigh against the stereotype of Van Gogh the Mad Genius flinging tube after tube of paint at the canvas while pausing occasionally to hack at his ear.
posted by yoink at 7:35 AM on August 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I always enjoy looking at prints of Van Gogh's work, because there are often tell-tale shadows where the paint is particularly thick in the originals.
posted by malocchio at 7:37 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of the plaster casts that American museums used to display:

In Victorian America's art museums, casts provided what was for most visitors the only contact with ancient sculpture. Because early sculpture masterpieces were not readily available, most major museums displayed casts in the second half of the 19th century.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:48 AM on August 28, 2013


Here:s where I thought that link was going to go: plaster caster.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:51 AM on August 28, 2013


any insight as to why they would cost $30,000 a pop? i mean, i'm sure the process isn't as straightforward as running off a few photocopies, but really? this seems like somewhat of a scam, and a rather shameful way to introduce the technology if the markup is as ridiculous as it seems it might be.

I presume Fujifilm would like to recoupe the cost of research and development. The cost will drop gradually.
posted by Evstar at 8:05 AM on August 28, 2013


I presume Fujifilm would like to recoupe the cost of research and development. The cost will drop gradually.

Well yeah I guess. But in any other market, the recoupe offset would surely be smaller.
posted by iotic at 9:25 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


For all you Scrabble players out there (US dictionary):

RELIEVOS
OVERLIES
VOLERIES (pl. of VOLERY)

Sorry, back to the topic at hand.
posted by freecellwizard at 11:07 AM on August 28, 2013


omg i have actually wanted this my whole life. Are the colours and brushstrokes accurate though? Can't believe daren't
posted by maiamaia at 12:04 PM on August 28, 2013


"I presume Fujifilm would like to recoupe the cost of research and development."

That, and the Van Gogh Museum is the exclusive source for the data required to make these Relievos. There'd be no copies without them, and they have certain budgetary needs. (No doubt exacerbated by the financial crisis.) So this is a price point that probably helps both parties meet their needs. And at least this time the money from collectors is going to the inventor of the technology and the museum that takes care of the paintings, instead of Christie's auction house.

It would be really cool if they could convince some of the rich collectors that already own Van Goghs to allow reproductions of their privately held paintings, with the money going to the Museum.


"So long as you can tell which one that is...."

The articles don't say, but I imagine the difference between the original and the Relievo is easy to tell for any art expert or laboratory. For one thing, the originals are made out of paint, canvas and wood, and the copy is probably made out of some kind of polymer.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:31 PM on August 28, 2013


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