The Hermitage Museum in Russia’s Saint Petersburg has received an official complaint from a government agency suggesting that its nude sculptures may have a bad influence on children and might have to be put in an adult-only room.
That’s according to Mikhail Piotrovsky, the museum’s general director, who refused to name which official body asked the institution to round up its naked figures.
“I laughed once when someone told us: gather all your nude sculptures into one room and put up an ’18+’ sign so our children are not corrupted,” Piotrivsky said. “But now we have received an official complaint from an official body, so we are responding to it.”
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The Hermitage, located in Saint Petersburg, is based in the Winter Palace, the former official residence of the Russian Emperors from 1762 to the revolution, in 1917. It is the second-largest art museum in the world.
It has a world-class collection, including not only paintings by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt, but also a Michelangelo marble sculpture and many Egyptian antiquities.
In response to new revelations, controversial United Russia MP and native Petersburger Vitaly Milonov blasted the proposal as idiotic.
“This is outright stupidity, it is not even worth talking about,” Milonov said. “If we’re talking about classical works, Michelangelo and many others, they do not fall under the category of ’18+’ in any way.”
This is not the first time that art in Saint Petersburg depicting nudity has come under scrutiny. In 2016, as part of a Michaelangelo exhibition, a copy of the statue of David was placed near a church. After a complaint by a local, the exhibit invited residents to vote on whether David should be wearing clothes. They opted to keep him naked.
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