• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Spaniard strips in front of Botticelli masterpiece

The Local · 24 Mar 2014, 09:32

Published: 24 Mar 2014 09:32 GMT+01:00

Standing in front of Sandro Botticelli’s alluring Birth of Venus, which depicts the classical goddess of love and beauty emerging from the sea and floating on a seashell, the 25-year-old man casually removed all his clothes, La Repubblica reported.

He then placed his hands in the same position as the goddess – one on his chest and the other on top of his thigh – before kneeling down and scattering rose petals across the floor.

Shocked gallery staff immediately intervened, with one attempting to cover the man with a towel while the other called the police.

One tourist took the opportunity to capture the scene on her mobile phone, with the photo then spreading quickly across Facebook and other social networks.

A commentator on Twitter posted the photo, and said: "Art makes us nake. Sometimes, literally!


The Spaniard is reported to have shouted “freedom, freedom!” as he was taken away by police and later charged for an obscene act in public.

It is the second naked performance in a public place to have struck Italy this month.

READ MORE HERE: Man stripped in church 'to show God natural self' 

“I was in the corridor of the gallery when I heard a guard saying he needed help because there was a naked man in front of Venus,” Susanna Mantovani, a tour guide, told La Repubblica.

“I thought it was a joke, then we walked into the room and saw him kneeling down, sprinkling petals on the floor. I saw the police talking to him, and the situation seemed peaceful.”

Story continues below…

The man was reportedly curious to know if his performance had been caught on camera, asking police, “Is it true that people took photos with their smartphones?”

The Birth of Venus, painted between 1482 and 1485, is perceived as Botticelli's most famous piece of art. It was commissioned by the Medici family of Florence.

Don't miss a story about Italy - Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italy has Europe's oldest population: Eurostat
Italy is home to the highest proportion of over-80-year-olds in the EU. File photo: Pexels

13 of every 200 people in Italy are aged over 80 - the highest proportion in the EU.

Italy police get lunch for poor woman 'forced to steal food'
The stolen goods only amounted to €14. File photo: Pexels

The woman had stolen food worth €14 from a supermarket.

Renzi: UK won't get special treatment post-Brexit
The UK can't expect an easy ride post-Brexit, Renzi warned. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Italian PM Matteo Renzi said the UK won't get more rights than other countries outside the EU after voting to leave the bloc.

Looters steal computers from quake town's new school
Almost a third of the schools in the area are now unusable. The above photo is of a school in Amatrice: AFP

The school had only been opened two weeks ago, after the town's existing two schools were left unusable by the earthquake.

Here's what Americans in Italy think about the US elections
The candidates shake hands before the debate. Photo: AFP

Four American expat voters from across the political spectrum talk about the issues which influenced their vote, and how it feels watching the elections from Italy.

Italy scraps bid to host 2023 Rugby World Cup
Italy's rugby team at the Six Nations earlier this year. Photo: AFP

The move is a result of Rome's decision not to bid for the 2024 Olympics.

Italy's migrant centres in crisis amid money worries
A man and his daughter in a Sardinian centre for refugees. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

The centres are fuller than ever - but the government has stopped paying.

Berlusconi at 80: My regrets and future plans
Berlusconi turns 80 on Thursday. Photo: AFP

"Politics was never really my passion," says Italy's longest-serving post-war premier.

Italy 'held naval manoeuvres with Iran' in strategic strait
The Strait of Hormuz. File photo: AFP

The Italian ambassador called the port call "a positive sign".

Northern Italian region approves 'anti-mosque' laws
One of Italy's few purpose-built mosques, in Rome. File photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Similar laws in other regions have been scrapped for being anti-constitutional.

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Culture
Eight things you should know about Rome's Spanish Steps
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
National
Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
2,748
jobs available