Rome, Italy (4E) – The Italian government protested an American advertisement showing Michelangelo’s statue David holding a rifle and demanded that the Illinois firearm manufacturer behind it withdraw the ad.
Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said the ad on the bolt-action AR-50A1 is offensive and Historical Heritage and Fine Arts Board curator Cristina Acidini Armalite has issued a legal notice to ArmaLite to withdraw the image, saying it distorts the artwork.
Franceschini said in a tweet that the government owns the rights to David and any use of a picture of the statue must first be authorized by the government and a fee should be paid.
Angelo Tartuferi, director of Florence’s Accademia Gallery, where the statue is on display, also said the ad is illegal because under a law, the aesthetic value of the work cannot be distorted.
The statue of the Biblical hero built in 1501 and 1504 is a Renaissance masterpiece of Italian artist Michelangelo. In the Armalite advertisement, the image of David holding the rifle contains the slogan “a work of art” to promote the $3,000 weapon.