The Uffizi Gallery is suing Jean-Paul Gaultier over his unauthorised use of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus on his clothing. Any use of Italy’s publicly owned art to sell merchandise requires permission and payment of a fee.
The Uffizi is suing French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, for his unauthorised use of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Gaultier hs used the iconic image on women’s trousers and blouses as well as a skirt and a men’s T-shirt.
The damages sought could exceed €100,000. Earlier this year, the Uffizi was notified of the garments on Jean Paul Gaultier’s website and social media.
Italian law states permission required
According to Italian law, any use of the country’s publicly owned art to sell merchandise requires permission and payment of a fee.
Eike Schmidt, the director of the Uffizi Galleries, sent a letter sent to the fashion house in April demanding it take the clothing items off the market, or agree a payment. The fashion house did not respond.
“Fashion designers regularly use our images and most are familiar with Italian law, which says that any use of publicly owned art needs to be authorised and paid for,” The Guardian reported Schmidt as saying. “How much depends on the volume of sales, price the items sell for etc.”
“We’re not talking about millions,” added Schmidt. “What’s unusual here is that they didn’t respond at all [to the letter].”
The Uffizi uses special software to monitor whether its artworks are being used to sell products online.