From the museum website, 2 September 2009
In our present age of unlimited, high – quality reproductions of artworks, a dubious value is assigned to the practice of copying as opposed to the creation of original art. However copying by hand has always been a significant aspect of European artistic production. Indeed, emulation – which is part imitation, part innovation – has long been considered vital to the process of artistic learning and growth. Although largely the domain of students and lesser-known artists, it was also practiced by the masters as part of their continuing development. Showcasing a number of recent acquisitions, this exhibition focused on the imitation of Rembrandt’s work and includes copies after other masters, such as Adam Elsheimer and Lorenzo Lotto, in order to shed light on the impulses and meanings behind the practice of copying.