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Based mainly on the evaluation of primary sources, this essay discusses the significance of imitation and invention in the education of painters and in the painters’ master piece within the Holy Roman Empire. The painters’ apprenticeship focused on watching and imitating master and journeyman, overtaking minor work, and learning fundamental aspects of the painter’s work such as drawing and grating colors. The rare cases of examinations at the end of the apprenticeship mainly demanded a drawing that copied a given pattern. In the vast majority of cities in which producing a master piece was a prerequisite for becoming a master and opening a workshop, guild regulations did not intend to test the painters’ ability to invention, but aimed to scrutinize his technical capabilities. Nonetheless, as the majority of painters’ pieces was on permanent public display in town halls, and as the spectrum of painters’ works ranged from coloring everyday objects to executing high quality paintings, potential clients had opportunity to form their own opinion and select a painter suitable to their needs.