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Visual Plagiarism: Examples of Derivative Works

Derivative Works of Art

Artists have a long history of creating derivative works of art that are based on existing original artwork. The definitions and videos below will help you understand various types of derivative works.

Definitions: What is ...

The Oxford English Dictionary defines appropriation as the "practice or technique of reworking the images or styles contained in earlier works of art, esp. (in later use) in order to provoke critical re-evaluation of well-known pieces by presenting them in new contexts, or to challenge notions of individual creativity or authenticity in art.







“L’image volée” (The stolen image) (Thomas Demand) by Manybits is licensed under2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)


For more examples check: MoMA | Appropriation

The Oxford English Dictionary defines cultural appropriation as "the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the practices, customs, or aesthetics of one social or ethnic group by members of another (typically dominant) community or society."


Sacred traditional Inuit design

From Northern Voices: Inuit Writing in English (p. ...), by P. Petrone, 1988,  University of Toronto Press.

Reproduced under Fair Dealing for educational purposes

KTZ Fall 2015 Menswear Fashion Show

WestonArnold, K. (n.d.). KTZ Fall 2015 Menswear: Look 27/49. Vogue Runway.

Reproduced under Fair Dealing for educational purposes

See also: KTZ fashion under fire for using Inuit design without family's consent | CBC News

Cultural appropriation is when one culture (typically a dominant culture) takes components of another culture, disconnecting the components from their culture of origin. Cultural appropriation is disrespectful and not inclusive. Respectful cultural appreciation, on the other hand, includes cultural collaborations, attribution, acknowledgement, and the channeling of wealth back into the community the culture is from. One of the best ways to prevent cultural appropriation in fashion and design is to actively choose collaboration, crediting the collaborating artists/communities and compensating them for their contribution.

Additional information: Cultural Appropriation

The Oxford English Dictionary defines homage as a "work of art or entertainment which incorporates elements of style or content characteristic of another work, artist, or genre, as a means of paying affectionate tribute."



Degas, Little Dancer Aged 14, 1878-1881

Sculpture of a girl dancer

Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, Degas, 1878-1881 by the National Gallery of Art is in the public domain.

Homage: Picasso's Femme Nue, 1907

Femme Nue, Picasso, 1907 by WikiArt, no attribution required. 

The Cambridge Dictionary defines emulation as "the process of copying something achieved by someone else and trying to do it as well as they have."





Portrait of Martha Thannstetter (née Werusin), Bernhard Strigel, 1515, by Wikioo is in the public domain.


Lady 1-Ply, Keeper of Non-Perishables and Protector of the Soap by Brenna McMann, no rights reserved by the author. 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines pastiche as the "technique of incorporating distinctive elements of other works or styles in a literary composition, design, etc."



This dress is part of an exhibition that "explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries."

Spanish Flowers by B is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.


A pastiche created by combining elements of two PD-art files, in Photoshop. The left image is Image:Sandro Botticelli 068.jpg, the right image is Image:Antonio Pollaiuolo 005.jpg


Pastiche by User:DO11.10 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines parody as a "literary composition modelled on and imitating another work, esp. a composition in which the characteristic style and themes of a particular author or genre are satirized by being applied to inappropriate or unlikely subjects, or are otherwise exaggerated for comic effect. In later use extended to similar imitations in other artistic fields, as music, painting, film, etc."




Abby Road traffic sign


Abby Road traffic sign by liftarn is in the public domain.

Pearshaped Apple logo


Vector image of Apple parody logo by OpenClipart is in the public domain.



The Oxford English Dictionary defines satire as a "thing or circumstance which exposes the faults or absurdities of something or someone; a mockery."     




Satirical map of Europe

Comic Satire Europe Map by Andrea Stoeckel is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain