A 16th century nude painting of the Roman goddess Venus has been banned from being part of the ad campaign for London’s Royal Academy of Arts upcoming exhibition on 16th century German painter and printmaker Lucas Cranach the Elder. Officials are banning it for fear it’s “exhibitionist” qualities could cause offense.
The promotional poster which was set to be displayed in the London Underground train system had transportation officials concerned since:
“Millions of people travel on the London Underground each day, and they have no choice but to view whatever adverts are posted there,”
“We have to take into account the full range of travellers [sic British] and endeavour [sic more British] not to cause offence [sic my god can’t the British spell in English….. yes I know it’s an off colour joke] in the adverts we display.”
According to the London Underground, the poster breached its guidelines against ads that depict individuals “in a sexual manner or display nude or semi-nude figures in an overly sexual context.”
A Royal Academy spokesman expressed disappointment with the decision and said that “if we thought [the painting] was offensive, we wouldn’t have put it forward.”
However, the gallery will likely have to pick a new image if transport officials do not reconsider their decision, he added.
The ban also drew fire from British politician John Whittingdale, who called the ban “bonkers,” according to the BBC.
Whittingdale, chair of the U.K. House of Commons select committee on culture, media and sport, also urged Underground officials to “think again” in regards to the poster.
The Royal Academy’s exhibit opens March 8 for a three-month run.