Thursday, February 27, 2014
"'It’s ecological resurrection, not species resurrection,' Shapiro says. A similar logic informs the restoration of Renaissance paintings. If you visit The Last Supper in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, you won’t see a single speck of paint from the brush of Leonardo da Vinci. You will see a mural with the same proportions and design as the original, and you may feel the same sense of awe as the refectory’s parishioners felt in 1498, but the original artwork disappeared centuries ago. Philosophers call this Theseus’ Paradox, a reference to the ship that Theseus sailed back to Athens from Crete after he had slain the Minotaur. The ship, Plutarch writes, was preserved by the Athenians, who 'took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place.' Theseus’ ship, therefore, became a standing example among the philosophers . . . one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same."

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