The art of the past no longer exists as it once did. Its authority is lost. In its place there is a language of images. What matters now is who uses that language for what purpose. This touches upon questions of copyright for reproduction, the ownership of art presses and publishers, the total policy of public art galleries and museums. As usually presented, these are narrow professional matters. One of the aims of this essay has been to show that the stake is much larger. A people or a class which is cut off from its own past is far less free to choose and to act as a people or class than one has been able to situate itself in history. This is why—and this is the only reason why—the entire art of the past has now become a political issue.