Plagiarism first came to be questioned as a legal issue shortly after the year 1500. In a way, Plagiarism was invented by Marcantonio Raimondi and some of the first laws put in place to combat plagiarism originated from Raimondi’s actions.
Marcantonio Raimondi (c1480 – c1534) was one of the most famous Italian “Old Master” engravers and printmakers and specialized in creating engravings and prints copying paintings by famous painters of that time. For example, he created many engravings from paintings by his personal friend, Raphael (1583 – 1520).
Raimondi may have gone too far when he started copying the woodcuts and engravings of probably the most famous engraver of all time, Albrecht Durer (1471 - 1528) of Germany. Raimondi not only copied Durer’s engravings but also copied and included Durer’s famous AD monogram signature.
Durer travelled to Italy in about 1506 and put in a formal complaint to the Government of Venice. The Venetian Government’s ruling was that Raimondi could continue to plagiarize Durer’s woodcuts and engravings but that he should stop using his signature. Albrecht was not too happy.
Marcoantonio Raimondi continued his questionable ways throughout his career and life. In about 1523 he was imprisoned by Pope clement VII for producing erotic engravings. In about 1534, Raimondi died in poverty.
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