Art Term

Simulacrum

A term from Greek Platonic philosophy that meant a copy of a copy of an ideal form

Marcel Duchamp, ‘The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass)’ 1915–23, reconstruction by Richard Hamilton 1965–6, lower panel remade 1985
Marcel Duchamp
The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) 1915–23, reconstruction by Richard Hamilton 1965–6, lower panel remade 1985
Tate
© Estate of Richard Hamilton and Succession Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017

In postmodernist thought, particularly through the writings of Gilles Deleuze and Jean Baudrillard, the term has been revived in the context of arguments about the relationship between an original work of art and its replication. For Baudrillard the simulacrum takes precedence over the original, with the effect that the original is no longer relevant.