Outrage over an advert by an American weapons firm showing Michelangelo’s David holding an assault rifle has been expressed by Italy’s Culture Minister. Dario Franceschini stated yesterday that the image was ‘offensive and violated the law’. Italian media was buzzing with condemnation of the photo depicting the iconic sculpture with a bolt-action rifle in his hands.
The photoshopped image was created by an Illinois-based company called ArmaLite, and carries the slogan “a work of art” in promoting the $3,000 assault rifle. The Minister has now officially asked the company to remove the offending copy for the AR-50A1 weapon, without delay.
In a tweet Senior Franceschini complained “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.” Italian Heritage and the Board of Fine Art’s curator Cristina Acidini has served a legal notice to ArmaLite to withdraw the image immediately, stating it distorts the original artwork which is deep rooted in Italian culture and heritage.
The Italian government has expressed that it owns the copyright on the commercial use of images of David. The director of Florence’s Accademia Gallery, where the statue is on display,Angelo Tartuferi, told the 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.”
Michelangelo created David between 1501 and 1504 it is considered one of the finest examples of Renaissance sculpture and draws millions of visitors to Florence each year to view the masterpiece.