Take my word for it that the image at right — sorry I don’t have a better version — represents the painting The Dead Christ supported by the Virgin and Mary Magdalen by Marcantonio Bassetti (1588-1630). It’s a work that the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge wanted to purchase for £175,000.
Now consider the second image, the logo of the Art Fund, which offered £80,000 toward the purchase of the Bassetti. Maybe not quite as gallery worthy. Unless you ask the Art Fund, as they insisted that in order for the museum to receive the funding their logo had to appear alongside the artwork. To his credit,Timothy Potts, the museum’s director, declined the gift, saying:
Logos are the currency of marketing and commerce and this introduces a promotional element into the galleries that we regard as an unnecessary and unacceptable distraction – no matter how worthy the object of promotion.
Here we see an unintended consequence of branding run amok — logos are proliferating like tribbles. These days there will be several of them on every copyright page I work on. Praise be to Mr. Potts for drawing the line at letting them into gallery labels!