Why did Picasso say "good artists copy but great artists steal"?

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Did Picasso steal someone's art or idea of art?
Best Answer
  • M T answered 4 years ago
He meant that every artist is influenced by what has been done before their time. If not by direct exposure, the information the artist is exposed to through other people, media, etc. influences them. We are all a product of our times and have the benefit of those who have walked similar paths we are now on.

We all borrow because it has all been done before and we are not the originators. To merely copy is to take an existing interpretation and not run away with it. To steal an idea is to take something of value and make it yours. To make an artistic element yours you have to interpret it your way with your own approach.

This cannot be done when you are merely copying the idea. When copying the idea you are just doing everything exactly like it was previously done. When you have done it your way you have used the element and not simply duplicated it.

It is not required that you advance the element. You can go sideways and even backwards with the idea and you can be stealing the element and not copying it. On the contrary, when merely copying the element you have failed if you do not match the original.
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  • Matt answered 4 months ago
    Someone should really ask Shia Labeouf for this thoughts on this.
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  • Lili answered 4 years ago
    Merely copying isn't particularly creative work, though it's useful as training and practice. Being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different IS creative work, and it may even revolutionalize the "stolen" concept.

    But note that there's a difference between flat-out plagiarizing and meditating very creatively on an earlier artist. See below for a good example of the latter:


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    • Comments (9)
  • e answered 4 months ago
    Rather, someone should ask Shia Labeouf to repeat someones words, about their thoughts, on plaigarism.
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  • sarah. answered 4 years ago
    maybe because good artists copy others' work as practice, & use it as their inspiration for a good piece.
    but great artists steal others' ideas & turn it into something way better than it was before.
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  • Lee answered 4 months ago
    I don't know lets ask Shia Lebeouf
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  • Alex Smith answered 4 months ago
    I think Shia LaBeouf might have some insight on this.
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  • pinklovescookiemonster421 answered 4 years ago
    Picasso truly embodies this quote, as he did in fact "steal" ideas from his colleague, Braque. Though Picasso is probably best known for establishing Cubism, Braque was always a step ahead of Picasso. However, Picasso was much more of a prolific painter than Braque, so Picasso would work through a concept that Braque had come up with much faster than Braque himself. For example, Braque was the first one to begin using faux-bois (fake wood pattern) that was so crucial in the development of synthetic cubism, but it was Picasso who used it to attribute a different meaning to the pattern and further the idea of synthetic cubism. So it is undeniable that Picasso was a savvy artist, to say the least.
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  • Jimmy F answered 4 months ago
    I think Shia LaBeouf would know the best answer.
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  • Blake answered 4 months ago
    So Shia LeBeouf could also plagarize Lili's answer.
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  • Carlos answered 4 months ago
    Clearly M T's answer is not the best one. I really hope Lili comes back! I want to hear her(?) response to being 'quoted' by Shai! LOL
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  • Unca Dunc answered 4 months ago
    Maybe Shia LaBeouf could * "have us killed" for talking about his plagiarizing a YAHOO! ANSWERS post in his apology explaining his plagiarized short film... hmmm... Maybe we can "have him killed" for not having one original thought in his short film and then cutting and pasting Lili's post ON STEALING IDEAS!!!...ROFLMFOUAO!!!! See how easy it is to accredit? (below) BWAHAHAHA!


    * http://www.examiner.com/article/did-shia-labeouf-make-a-female-fan-cry-and-a-death-threat-to-her-boyfriend
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  • Heisenberg answered 3 months ago
    Picasso didn't actually say that despite popular opinion that he did. The exact phrase you're quoting was Steve Jobs, who was repeating a phrase that first started appearing in the late 1800's.


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  • G answered 4 months ago
    "If i have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

    This goes directly with Picasso's quote.
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  • Charlie answered 5 days ago
    i think the idea is, when you 'steal' something, you have assumed new ownership over this object. You have, in essence, made it yours. Whereas, if you copy something, it is merely a replication of something that is clearly someone else's.
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  • coax_boy answered 3 months ago
    ...well, part of the problem is that Picasso never did say this quotation.. Steve Jobs mis-attributed it to him, but nowhere in his writings, or interviews, or correspondence did he say these words... so, everything else is conjecture... for more of an investigation, go here: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/03/06/artists-steal/
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  • donny answered 4 months ago
    Guys! Guys! Guys!... what if Shia Lebouf is actually LiLi? or is Lili Shia Lebouf? #conspiracyTheory.. lol
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  • Full answered 4 months ago
    I want to shampoo your Tuesday.


    He wants to wash a day of the week?
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