Reproduction of Renaissance art images

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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newslettereditor
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Reproduction of Renaissance art images

Post by newslettereditor » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:07 pm

I edit a church newsletter and magazine which is non-profit making and has a small circulation of about 200 editions.
I would like to reproduce, in black and white, paintings by Durer, Raphael etc to illustrate historical articles about the lives of saints etc
Every photographic image I find online of these artworks are copyrighted.
I assume this is the photographic image and and perhaps not the painting?
Firstly is it possible to include these paintings without infringing any copyright of the painting?
Secondly where would I be able to obtain a photographic image I would be therefore be able to use, either for free or a small fee?
Thank you for your help.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:42 pm

This is, in my opinon, one of the slightly counter-productive parts of current copyright legislation. Originally the relatively (by today's standards) short term of copyright was supposed to strike a balance between the author's right to a fair return for his labour, and society's cultural enrichment by making such works freely available after the copyright term has expired.
As you have correctly identified, whilst the original works of art are not now protected by copyright (and of course some never were protected), by photographing them the photographer, instead of making them more widely available to those who cannot go to the museums and art galleries to see the originals, has perversely restricted access by his own copyright in the photograph.
I cannot suggest any specific sources of free images of these paintings, etc, but I'm sure that there will be plenty of royalty-free reproductions somewhere which you can use. As this is more about the art itself, maybe you could try as a starting point forums which discuss that topic. The other place to look would be the Creative Commons and Wikipedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Art sites for images. For instance this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:St._C ... %BCrer.jpg will take you to one on Durer's engravings featuring St Christopher, which has a creative commons licence. Also if you know where the original paintings or engravings are housed, you might be able to obtain copies freely or at a more reasonable cost than if you go to picture libraries.
Use Google images to find the image you want, but assume that all images you find are in copyright until you see a notice to the contrary.
Good luck

newslettereditor
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Post by newslettereditor » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:45 pm

Sites you suggested are very helpful.
Thank you very much for your advice, much appreciated.

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