Uffizi’s Venus Copyright Suit

A screenshot of Gaultier’s Venus collection posted online provided by the Uffizi Galleries

Jean Paul Gaultier, a French fashion designer, is now being sued by the Uffizi for “unauthorized use of Botticelli’s Venus.”

Earlier this year, Gaultier released a new clothing collection on the firm’s social media platforms featuring prints from various famous Renaissance artists. Most prominently, tops, pants, dresses, skirts, and scarfs have been imprinted with the full-size image of the Botticelli’s Venus.

Sandro Botticelli finished The Birth of Venus in 1486 as a commission for the Florence’s ruling Medici family, who bequeathed the work to the Uffizi Gallery. Renowned for its mythological representations, which were increasingly popular during that period, the work celebrated Venus as the symbol of love and beauty.

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence were aware of the issue and sent out a formal notice in April for the fashion house to take the clothes off the market or come to a commercial agreement with the museum and pay the fee for permission to use the visual details from The Birth of Venus. Regardless, Jean Paul Gaultier went on to release the collection.

The Uffizi are now suing the fashion house citing Italian cultural heritage laws, which stipulate the need for authorization and a payment fee for use of images that are government property.

This collection has since been taken off Jean Paul Gaultier’s social media platforms. (Jessie Chang)