Italians: Gun-Toting 'David' Offensive and Illegal

Monday, 10 Mar 2014 10:03 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Italy's Culture Minister Dario Franceschini is not amused by a weapons maker's advertisement showing Michelangelo's marble statue of the Biblical hero David toting a bolt-action rifle rather than his traditional slingshot.

The image is offensive and violates the law, Franceschini says, and he wants it removed from a number of Italian news and media websites that are carrying the image, the BBC reports.

Illinois-based ArmaLite, which paid for the advertising spots, calls its AR-50A1, which retails for just over $3,000, a "work of art" in the ads, which use a leaf and the rifle to cover the statue's nudity.

Franceschini said the Italian government will take action against ArmaLite if it doesn't remove the advertising, sending a message in Italian on Twitter,  saying, "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."

Meanwhile, Historical Heritage and Fine Arts Board curator Cristina Acidini issued a legal notice to the gunmaker to withdraw the image, claiming it's a distortion of the artwork.

The Italian government claims to hold the copyright to the marble Renaissance masterpiece's use and images, Fox News reports. The statue was created by Michelangelo  between 1501 and 1504 and is housed in the Accademia Gallery in Florence.

Angelo Tartuferi, the gallery's director, said that Italian law says the "aesthetic value of the work cannot be distorted. In this case, not only is the choice in bad taste but also completely illegal."

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