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Italy tries to protect its cultural heritage in fight for David’s image

A detail of Michelangelo's 16th century statue of David is seen on display at the Accademia gallery, in Florence, central Italy, March 18, 2024. AP PHOTO / ANDREW MEDICHINI

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In-depth reporting that examined under a new light and context, with plenty of solid visuals, something that had been previously only scratched by other outlets, led to a story of discovery in the worlds of arts and copyright law that trumped breaking and other news on our digital platforms.

Milan-based AP correspondent Colleen Barry delved deep into reporting that various local media, legal and art publications had done around lawsuits involving Italian artworks. But she cleverly focused on Michelangelo’s David, a universally recognized sculpture whose owner, the Florence-based Accademia Gallery, has successfully waged plenty of legal battles against souvenir shops, commercial brands and even media.

Barry not only brought together all the threads scattered around to provide an overview of the interesting debate but also expanded with context about how the Accademia’s move has become a reference for other museums and institutions. She also found that Italy pretty much stands alone in its strict approach to copyrighting masterpieces, with similar laws found only in Greece and Vatican City.

Good access to the Accademia, strong and balanced interviews and stunning visuals of one of the greatest artworks of the Renaissance period, as well as of shops selling David-themed souvenirs, provided the ingredients for an ambitious digital promotion.

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