Berlusconi angers art restorers by replacing body parts on statues

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NEW YORK - After Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi angered art restorers by replacing missing body parts of ancient marble statues in his office, Italy’s culture ministry has come forward to say there is no cause for alarm.

The ministry, which is led by a close ally of Berlusconi, 74, said in a statement that the hand added to Venus and the penis added to Mars are attached by magnets and can be removed without damage, the New York Post reported.

According to La Repubblica, Vatican Museums director Antonio Paolucci, one of Italy’s top restoration experts, said “it’s a pity” restorers did not say no to Berlusconi’s request to add parts to the second century statues in Chigi Palace.

For decades, restorers have widely agreed that missing parts of ancient statues should not be recreated, but Berlusconi’s personal architect insisted that the restoration was justified.

Mario Catalano said the restoration of the missing parts was based of scans of “other works with similar poses and with the agreement of the ministry’s restorers”.

He said the statues were among many ancient treasures relegated to the storerooms of Rome’s museums because there just isn’t enough space to display everything.

Catalano added the sculptured pair “would have never seen the light of day” had Berlusconi not decided to have them taken from the storerooms and put in the palace courtyard. (ANI)

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