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An online cover-up for classic art

By Xu Chi (Shanghai Daily)

08:15, July 13, 2012

AN online campaign to put clothes on nudes in classic artworks has been launched in response to a TV news report that put a mosaic over the private parts of Michelangelo's "David."

Under the slogan "Dress the nude rather than add mosaic," web users are using computer software to superimpose garments on naked figures in famous paintings.

One set of pictures that is attracting wide popularity on features many Renaissance artworks to which clothing has been added.

In Goya's "The Nude Maja," the woman lying on the bed is now wearing a red one-piece dress of the type common among middle-aged Chinese women today.

In "Adam and Eve" by Gustav Klimt, Adam and Eve are no longer naked but have put on football shirts. "Chloe" by Jules Lefebvre is dressed in a black shirt and pants.

In a new version of the painting "Le Guepier" by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, the main female character is given a pair of glasses and all the woman have bellybands (traditional Chinese underwear). On the underwear are the Chinese words for "Wishing you prosperity."

The online campaign began on Monday after a national news program covered the marble penis of David by Michelangelo, one of Italy's most famous artists, with a mosaic.

The mosaic had been removed by the time the program was rerun the following day but not before the cover-up had caused some anger online. "The statue of David is a well-known masterpiece of art but the TV station treated it like some vulgar adult movie" was one comment on

"Apparently the TV station doesn't believe that its audience would treat art properly" was another comment on the microblog.

An online poll by showed only 4.2 percent of those who took part believed it was necessary to put on the mosaic while 93.3 percent said it was totally unnecessary.

The Italian Embassy in China responded to Chinese media enquiries by saying that the TV station had put the mosaic probably to protect its sensitive audience.

It is not the first time that Chinese web users have drawn clothes on famous paintings.

In February 2009, there was anger when a set of Renaissance artworks had been deleted from an album on because of their nudity.

They immediately drew clothes on the nude figures in the paintings and put them back online.


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