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U.S. ad of Michelangelo's David with rifle scandalizes Italy

ROME (Reuters) - Italian cultural officials have threatened court action to stop an American arms manufacturer showing the revered Renaissance statue of Michelangelo's David holding a rifle in its advertising campaign. Culture Minister Dario Franceschini led the battle cry after stories about the ad - describing the weapon as a "work of art" - appeared in Italian newspapers.

Italy challenges US gun ad using Michelangelo's David

Italy's Culture Minister Dario Franceschini Saturday called for a US guns dealer to withdraw an advertisement using an image of Michelangelo's David -- but with the famed statue holding a bolt-action rifle. "The image of David, armed, offends and infringes the law. We will take action against the American company so that it immediately withdraws its (advertising) campaign," Franceschini tweeted in the afternoon.

Giacometti exhibit in Rome explores power of human body

The striking, skeletal forms of Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti are juxtaposed with corpulent neo-classical and baroque Italian masterpieces in a new exhibition in Rome exploring the evocative power of the human body. Forty Giacometti gems, including his famous spindly "Walking Man" in bronze, have been scattered around the permanent collection at the Villa Borghese Gallery in the Italian capital, dotted in among classics such as Bernini's "David" or Canova's "Pauline Borghese".

Repairs may mean darker hue for Rio's iconic Christ statue

Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue, facing renovation after being struck by lightning last month, could take on a darker hue owing to a shortage of replacement stone, heritage officials said Sunday. The 38-meter (125 feet -- including the pedestal) statue, named in a 2007 global poll as one of seven new wonders of the world, lost a fingertip to a lightning bolt during a January 22 storm. But the repair work has prompted concerns over a much bigger overhaul planned for the 85th anniversary of the monument, which coincides with the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Thieves target another Henry Moore sculpture

A "high value" Henry Moore sculpture has been stolen from a Scottish park, police said Sunday, the latest of several thefts of the British artist's work in recent years. The 1950 bronze, entitled "Standing Figure", was one of four Moore works in the Glenkiln Sculpture Park near Dumfries in southwest Scotland, alongside others by Auguste Rodin and Jacob Epstein. Moore, who died in 1986 aged 88, was widely regarded as Britain's best 20th-century sculptor. A string of his giant bronzes have been targeted by thieves -- possibly for scrap metal value.

Male nudes take centre stage in Paris

The male nude took centre stage in Paris on Tuesday as a controversial exhibition celebrating the masculine form went on show at the celebrated Musee d'Orsay. Juxtaposing traditional painting and sculptures with contemporary homoerotic photography, a museum better known for its impressionist masterpieces has brought together more than 200 pieces in a collection designed to stimulate and amuse in equal measure. "It is an exhibition that doesn't take itself too seriously," Guy Cogeval, the museum's president and one of the curators of the exhibition, told AFP.

Venice removes controversial Boy with Frog statue

Venice removed a controversial white statue of a naked boy holding a frog by US sculptor Charles Ray from the entrance of the Grand Canal on Wednesday, sparking criticism from art lovers. The 2.4-metre (7.8-foot) high statue, commissioned by French billionaire collector Francois Pinault, will be replaced with a copy of a 19th-century lamp-post which used to stand on the spot and was much loved by residents of the floating city. The sculpture was outside Punta della Dogana, a former customs house that is now a contemporary art museum housing Pinault's rich collection.

Venice removes controversial Boy with Frog statue

Venice removed a controversial white statue of a naked boy holding a frog by US sculptor Charles Ray from the entrance of the Grand Canal on Wednesday, sparking criticism from art lovers. The 2.4-metre (7.8-foot) high statue, commissioned by French billionaire collector Francois Pinault, will be replaced with a copy of a 19th-century lamp-post which used to stand on the spot and was much loved by residents of the floating city. The sculpture was outside Punta della Dogana, a former customs house that is now a contemporary art museum housing Pinault's rich collection.

Florence exhibition evokes dawn of the Renaissance

The Renaissance really began in a few decades at the beginning of the 15th century in Florence -- an artistic revolution mapped out in a remarkable exhibition that brings together 140 sculptures and paintings from collections around the world. Works by masters including Donatello and Masaccio, Brunelleschi and Paolo Uccello have been loaned for the unprecedented show thanks to a partnership between the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, itself a Renaissance jewel.

Sculptors Moore, Rodin meet in English country garden

By Li-mei Hoang MUCH HADHAM, England (Reuters) - Nestled in the idyllic English countryside just north of London, the home of British sculptor Henry Moore is playing host to one of France's most revered artists, Auguste Rodin, for the first time. Rodin, renowned the world over for works like his bronze "The Thinker" and "The Kiss" made from marble, will be displayed alongside Moore in a new exhibition that explores the parallels and differences between the two sculptors.
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