Why the Mona Lisa May not Be a Painting

Frank Sibley

in Approach to Aesthetics

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780198238997
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598418 | DOI:
 Why the  Mona Lisa May not Be a Painting

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art


Show Summary Details


Challenges the assumption that paintings and sculptures are identical with physical objects and that, as a consequence, they are not subject to the type-token distinction. Since our knowledge and appreciation of vast ranges of art depends upon copies, on prints, on illustrated art books that most lovers of painting own, on colour slides and television programmes, it seems that there is no strong case for denying that reproductions of the Mona Lisa are tokens of a type. This claim goes beyond the view that with increasing accuracy in reproduction of art objects, the closer we get to what is valuable – Sibley thinks we are already there. He concludes that either the concept we have of a painting may be internally inconsistent or that there may be two concepts of painting, one in which the work of art is identical with a physical object and the other in which it admits the type-token distinction.

Keywords: art; Frank Sibley; Mona Lisa; object; painting; reproductions; type-token distinction

Chapter.  8482 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.