Nature’s Copy

Simulacra (plural) or simulacrum  is an archaic term for a ‘likeness’ or a similarity.  It can be used as ‘representation’ in an art form like a statue  or painting in post modernism.  Photorealism can be termed as a form of artistic simulacrum,  or where the artist is copying a photo so that the painting is a copy of a copy.

Ivy tree St Annes Holy Well Scotland

French philosopher and postmodernist Jean Baudrillard argued that the term is not a copy of the real but a form in its own right. He sums it up in four  ‘realities’; 1. Truth in its own right – a reflection of reality, 2. a perversion of reality, 3. pretense of reality (where the model doesn’t exist) 4. simulacrum – that which bears no relation to any reality whatsoever.

doctored or natural?
doctored or natural?

The simulacra that I am interested in is an imitation of a recognised reality in nature.  See kirstyfliesfree ‘s wonderful photograph to see how this works in nature.  Trees in particular lend their form to the human body shape. Sometimes they can make you stop in your tracks……

Escaping criticism by Caso

Trompe l’oeil an original Baroque term literally mean ‘trick the eye’, it is an optical illusion like this painting by Caso which shows a boy climbing out of his framed painting.   Trompe l’oeil is usually reserved for vista’s: beautiful views from mythical windows, but false bookcases, interesting perspectives, and murals.

old man rock

In prehistoric times recognised natural forms would be seen as Gods incarnate – and it’s easy to see why our ancestors were awe-struck.  Fantastic  natural simulacrum occurs all around the world – and this gallery has an extensive range of images.  It’s hard to remain stoney faced whilst looking at them:)  I wonder if that’s where that term came from?

“Simulacrum (plural: -cra), from the Latin simulacrum which means “likeness, similarity”, is first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century,
used to describe a representation of another thing, such as a statue or
a painting, especially of a god; by the late 19th century, it had
gathered a secondary association of inferiority: an image without the
substance or qualities of the original………”

Don’t forget to check out my BLOG SPOTLIGHT  post here! 

This  site has some wonderful examples of natural simulacrum
St Anne’s Holy well image here
Trompe l’oeil information here
Maybe photoshopped image from here

8 thoughts on “Nature’s Copy

  1. Another fine post! I’m always reading into forms. I recall reading an excerpt from Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks were he advocates looking at clouds or wood grain for inspiration.

  2. Thanks Al! Yes, was obsessed by that at one time (love Max Ernst, favorite surrealist, must do a post on him!) He was inspired by Leonardo’s essay about seeing images in the grains of the floorboards, so he made ‘frottages’ by placing paper over them and scribbling over them to see what appeared. I did some paintings like this and just got the right hand corner (was it the left? I know there was a reason for it) Isolated the abstract shapes, magnified them and started a new painting with them as a stating point. It got very complicated:) but they are very colourful!

  3. Do you remember the Ogdens in Coronation St Ann? they had a ‘mural’ but Hilda called it a ‘Muriel’. I think it was an alpine scene – they hung some flying ducks on it:)

  4. Thanks for reading Leslie it’s always appreciated! there’s a spectacular tree near where I live which looks like a figure dancing – I must take a pic of it, though knowing my luck someone will chop it down before I do:)

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