March 3, 2024


The use of the work can be very expensive for the Jean Paul Gaultier brand The birth of Venusby Botticelli, for a capsule collection of ready-to-wear named Le Musée. As much as 100,000 euros. The Uffizi Gallery – the main art gallery in Italy – has filed legal action against the firm after the absence of a response for the legal use of images in designs.

The Florentine museum, where the work of the Italian artist is located, has sued the French firm for its “unauthorized use”: “The well-known fashion house has used the image of the immortal masterpiece found in the museum to create some garments, also announcing them on their social networks and on their website and they did so without asking for permission, without agreeing on the method to use them and without paying the rights, as expressly required by law,” the art gallery lamented in a statement. The Uffizi Gallery, located in the heart of Florence, is one of the most important museums on the planet and houses some of the most important works by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian or Caravaggio.

Painted by Botticelli in the 1480s, The birth of Venus It is considered one of the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, as well as continuing to have incalculable artistic value half a millennium after its creation. The painting is one of the most famous in the world, replicated over and over again, and in it the goddess Venus appears naked, covering herself only with her long blonde hair, standing on a scallop shell and surrounded by other gods.

The cultural entity demanded the withdrawal from the market of the products in which the painting appeared or, failing that, that those responsible contact the museum to close the commercial agreement necessary to be able to capture the image in the designs. According to the Code of Cultural Heritage of Italy, “the use of images of Italian public property is obligatorily subject to specific authorization and the payment of a fee.” However, always according to the museum’s version, the fashion firm ignored the letter that it sent it last April and for which they intended to reach an economic agreement. Having not received a response, they have taken “legal action, which includes not only the removal of the garments, but also a claim for damages in favor of the museum.” the british newspaper Guardian figures the amount required at more than 100,000 euros. For now, the French fashion house has avoided commenting on the matter.

In the collection launched by Jean Paul Gaultier, the image of Venus was included in dresses, blouses, pants and scarves. In addition, the firm also used fragments of works by artists such as Michelangelo and Rubens for its collection. In the complaint that has come to light, the Uffizi have included several screenshots in which a model can be seen wearing pants and a T-shirt with part of the Venus painting printed. And they are not cheap parts. The French house sells a scarf for 150 euros and a dress for 590, among other items in the collection.

The work 'The birth of Venus' by Sandro Botticelli.
The work ‘The birth of Venus’ by Sandro Botticelli. getty

Since 1993, Italy has had a law – last updated in 2014 – that allows free use of the images of the painting if it is done in a private capacity or for educational, informational or scientific purposes. However, the Jean Paul Gaultier collection does not meet any of these requirements, so a tacit agreement or payment was necessary before the garments went on sale.

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