Italy’s culture minister Dario Franceschini has expressed outrage over an advertisement by a US weapons manufacturer showing Michelangelo’s David holding a rifle, saying the image was offensive and violated the law, reports the BBC.
The advertisement, from Illinois-based ArmaLite, carries the line “a work of art” in promoting the $3,000 rifle. The advertisment is actually from the company’s “Work of Art” campaign last year, but it was recently published in an Italian newspaper which sparked the controversy.
— ArmaLite Inc. (@ArmaLiteInc) May 15, 2013
Mr Franceschini said “The image of David, armed, offends and infringes the law. We will take action against the American company so that it immediately withdraws its campaign.”
Historical Heritage and Fine Arts Board curator Cristina Acidini has issued a “legal notice” to ArmaLite to withdraw the image, saying it distorts the artwork. The Italian government insists it holds the copyright on the commercial use of images of David.
Angelo Tartuferi, director of Florence’s Accademia Gallery, where the statue is on display, told Repubblica newspaper: “The law says that the aesthetic value of the work cannot be distorted. In this case, not only is the choice in bad taste but also completely illegal.”