Stencilled hand paintings in the Cueva de las Manos, Argentina

Using a template is not a new idea. Wall paintings in the Cave of the Hands in Santa Cruz, Argentina date back some 9,000 years. It is believed that the stencilled hands on the cave walls marked a rite of passage into manhood.

Woodcuts, from the 9th century onward are another form of using a medium where a basic design could be used to recreate a structure – which could then be enhanced with color or other means.

Contemporary art holds well-known examples. Perhaps Andy Warhol is one of the most renowned. His portrayal of well-known cultural icons as diverse as Coca Cola, Marilyn Monroe and even Queen Elizabeth demonstrated how a templated design could be transformed into free-standing versions of an otherwise identical theme.

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