A famous Italian museum is waging a legal battle against prominent French brand Jean Paul Gaultier.
This week, the Uffizi Gallery released a statement condemning Gaultier for its "illicit" and "unauthorized" use of Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" in its collections (the Florentine gallery houses the 15th-century painting).
"It has done so without asking for permission, agreeing on the usage and paying the fee, which is expressively provided for by law," the museum said on Monday. The lawsuit points to Gaultier's "Le Musée" capsule collection that launched in April, which featured the Renaissance artwork throughout.
The museum's legal team had reached out to Gaultier back in April with a notice to drop the collection or come to some sort of commercial deal with Uffizi, but received no response.
“According to the Codice dei Beni Culturali [Code of Cultural Heritage] the use of images under the Italian public propriety is compulsorily subjected to a specific authorization and the payment of a fee," the museum's statement added. Gaultier has not yet issued a statement in response to the lawsuit.
Fashion brands regularly use the museum's images, according to Uffizi Galleries director Eike Schmidt, including Leonardo da Vinci, Titian and Raphael, and Giotto di Bondone and that “most are familiar with Italian law" with Gaultier seemingly an exception.
The pieces in question are no longer available on Jean Paul Gaultier's website, but they are stocked in retailers like SSENSE.
Photos via SSENSE