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Italian artist’s €5 million gold toilet stolen in England

A gang of thieves on Saturday stole an 18-carat gold toilet by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan from an art exhibition at Britain's Blenheim Palace.

Italian artist's €5 million gold toilet stolen in England
The work, dubbed 'America' has been offered on loan to US President Donald Trump. Photo: William Edwards/AFP
The fully-functioning piece by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, dubbed “America”, was once displayed at New York's Guggenheim museum and offered on loan to US President Donald Trump.
   
A 66-year-old man has been arrested over the theft at the 18th-century stately home in Oxfordshire, which caused flooding at the World Heritage Site.
 
 
“The offenders broke into the palace overnight and left the scene at about 4.50 am. No-one was injured during the burglary,” local police said.
   
Detective Inspector Jess Milne said: “The piece of art that has been stolen is a high-value toilet made out of gold that was on display at the palace. Due to the toilet being plumbed into the building, this has caused significant damage and flooding. We believe a group of offenders used at least two vehicles during the offence.
   
“The artwork has not been recovered at this time but we are conducting a thorough investigation to find it and bring those responsible to justice.”
 
Cattelan told the New York Times that when he first heard news of the theft, he hoped it was a prank.
 
“Who's so stupid to steal a toilet? I had forgotten for a second that it was made out of gold,” he said, adding: “I wish it was a prank.”
 

Maurizio Cattelan's gold toilet, 'America'. Photo: William Edwards/AFP
 
Cattelan has described the 18-carat gold work as “one-percent art for the 99 percent”.
 
“I hope it still is. I want to be positive and think the robbery is a kind of Robin Hood-inspired action,” he said, referring to the character of English folklore who stole from the rich to give to the poor.
 
Blenheim Palace chief executive Dominic Hare meanwhile revealed that the toilet, which was only put on display at the English stately home on Thursday, had been valued at around $5 to $6 million.
 
He told the BBC that the palace, the birthplace of wartime leader Winston Churchill and a UNESCO World Heritage site, had a sophisticated security system. But he added: “Clearly we need to challenge ourselves on that.”
 
He also said it was “not out of the question [that it] would be melted down” by the thieves.
 

Maurizio Cattelan. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

The toilet was one of the star attractions in an exhibition of Cattelan's works, with visitors able to book three-minute time slots to use it.
 
When the work was on display at New York's Guggenheim museum, more than 100,000 people lined up to use the loo during the course of a year.

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TOURISM

The new guide to Florence’s Uffizi Galleries – showing only the nudes

There are lots of guides to the visual splendours of Florence's world-famous galleries - but for those with a short attention span comes a new one, showing only nude or erotic artworks.

The new guide to Florence's Uffizi Galleries - showing only the nudes
Sandro Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" is the most famous work included in a controversial new guide to the Uffizi Galleries. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The online guide to the gallieries is produced by the porn website Pornhub and provide a list of the best erotic artworks in each museum, plus directions of how to get there – so you don’t need to waste your time looking at paintings of people in clothes.

Part of the site’s Classic Nudes series of ‘erotic’ guides to some of the world’s most renowned museums, the guide for the Uffizi lists 21 artworks, together with a tongue-in-cheek commentary, and the location of each piece within the galleries.

“The Uffizi Gallery is located in the birthplace of the Renaissance: Florence, Italy. So it’s no wonder it has such a large collection of artwork from the era. But what you may find surprising is the sheer volume and variety of naked bodies rendered in paint, bronze and marble in this marvelous museum,” writes Pornhub.

Among the works featured are Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1485) and the Roman statue of the Knidian Aphrodite, dating from the 1st Century.

The guide also includes the Venus of Urbino by Titian (1538), which it calls “kinky”, and Painting and Poetry by Francesco Furini (1626), which is described as featuring “two ridiculously hot babes who just so happen to be making out”.

Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Bosses at the Uffizi were not amused at the gallery’s inclusion in Pornhub’s series and have threatened to sue.

Meanwhile in Paris, the Louvre’s management has said only that it is ‘dismayed’, while the Musée d’Orsay remained silent on the subject.

As is hopefully clear, the Pornhub guides are explicit in nature and not suitable for children.

The Uffizi does, however, provide a great day out for all the family and contains a lot of fully-clothed artwork too. At present it is operating with reduced visitor numbers due to health rules, so advance booking to recommended.

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