Influencers post creative content via photos, short videos or texts on social networks. Some are even very successful, have a large reach and many followers. With their content they “influence”, influence or inspire others. Just as influencers use digital images today, the Nuremberg artist Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) used the medium of prints. Through the distribution of his printed pictures, he quickly became known throughout Europe, influential and extremely successful.
Albrecht Durer Influencers. Followers and reach in Italy
Dürer's art was particularly appreciated south of the Alps. Many Italian artists were influenced and inspired by his woodcuts and engravings. Some, such as Marcantonio Raimondi, Enea Vico, Martino Rota, Benedetto Montagna, Cristofano Robetta, Giulio Campagnola and Zoan Andrea, used Dürer's prints directly, imitating them, copying them and sometimes using their own names - today one would say profile - published (or shared). At that time, too, the question of copyright infringement and intellectual property arose. Due to the simultaneous claim of print and social media to spread images and generate reach, a diverse field of tension between copyright, success and creativity has arisen and continues to arise.
The most famous Italian "follower" of Dürer was the engraver Marcantonio Raimondi. He created detailed imitations of the woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer's "Life of the Virgin". Raimondi did not mark these works as copies; on the contrary: he also copied Dürer's trademark, the famous AD. They are not perfect: Raimondi transferred Dürer's woodcuts to a different technique, copperplate engraving. These imitations have gone down in history. They are said to have led to the legendary first copyright process ever in 1511. Even if this probably never took place, one can assume that Dürer even supported the dissemination of his pictures, perhaps through a cooperation with Raimondi.
The problem was probably more the use of his trademark AD. In doing so, Raimondi feigned Dürer's original authorship of the copied sheets. Perhaps he was officially forbidden from doing so after Dürer's complaint. In any case, Raimondi no longer uses the monogram in later Dürer copies.