The artist is challenging the public to spot which of the gallery's original artworks has been replaced with a replica he has had made and shipped from China.

One of the 270 paintings in the gallery's permanent collection has been removed from its frame and placed into storage. A specially commissioned reproduction – painted by artists at Meisheng Oil Painting Manufacture Co in Xiamen from a high-resolution digital image of the original – will hang in its place for three months, with the public being asked to guess which is the fake.

Many Old Master painters encouraged the iteration of their work. The gallery’s version of Venus & Adonis demonstrates how Titian’s assistants mapped out the composition using a template, with just the finishing touches being added by the master. Still today famous paintings are being replicated on a mass scale; Dafen Village in China produces five million replicas a year for the global art market.

Conceptual artist Doug Fishbone conceived of this project in order to explore whether a replica – presented as an original – can be taken as such without question. He hopes to see if an original ‘masterpiece’ can infact be identified through key features, such as style, gesture, and brushwork.

At the end of April the mystery will be revealed and the public will be able to compare and contrast the original and replicated paintings at the gallery until 26 July.

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