The Court of Florence returns to rule in favor of the Accademia Gallery with a recent ruling regarding the abusive use of the image of Michelangelo’s David. The case involves two companies, called into question by the Ministry of Culture for having used a full-scale reproduction of Michelangelo’s masterpiece for commercial purposes and in the absence of the required authorizations.
The image of Michelangelo’s masterpiece “it has been seriously altered and mortified” writes the Court of Florence. “The work of Michelangelo’s genius is, therefore, commonly used for advertising and commercial purposes. In this way, the very high artistic and cultural value of the work being discussed is humiliated and debased – to the point of annihilation.” Furthermore, the focal point of heritage protection is recognized in “culturally qualified and free use by the entire community according to methods oriented towards the development of culture and the promotion of knowledge, by the public, of the historical and artistic heritage of the Nation ”.
We therefore reiterate what was already stated in the previous non-definitive sentence no. 1207 of 21 April last by the Court of Florence, with which the existence of the right to the image of cultural heritage was declared for the first time as an expression of the constitutional right to the collective identity of citizens who recognize themselves in the same Nation.
In addition to the pecuniary damage, non-pecuniary damage was also recognized and the two companies were sentenced to compensation for which the amount remains to be defined.
“This recent ruling constitutes further important recognition for the defense of art and cultural heritage in Italy,” states Cecilie Hollberg, director of the Galleria dell’Accademia, which has been committed for years to protecting the image of Michelangelo’s work and the values that it represents.
The minister’s speech
“The sentence of the Court of Florence recognizes the right to image for our artistic heritage. Cultural assets belong to the Nation and are a direct expression of the collective identity of citizens”. This was declared by the Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, after having learned the news of the judiciary’s ruling in favor of the Accademia Gallery. “It is particularly relevant that the judges, with this decision, reaffirm the value of articles 2 and 9 of the Constitution and article 1 of the Cultural Heritage and Landscape Code”, concludes the Minister.