Russians to vote on covering up Michelangelo's David

A local TV station shows a copy of Michelangelo's David erected in St Petersburg. Image copyright Sankt Peterburg TV
Image caption The statue has been erected in front of a Lutheran church

A copy of Michelangelo's David recently put on show in central St Petersburg may be dressed up because a resident objected to its nakedness.

Organisers of a sculpture exhibition in the city say they'll ask residents to decide whether to cover up the 5m (16ft) plastic statue, after a local woman complained to the children's rights ombudsman that it was an eyesore and a bad influence on pupils at a nearby school, the Lenta website reports. "How could you put this bloke without any trousers on in the centre of St Petersburg, next to a school and a church?" the ombudsman's website quotes the letter as saying. "This giant spoils the city's historic appearance and warps children's souls."

Its officials apparently tried to convince the woman that Russia's former imperial capital contained many such statues and residents are accustomed to their state of undress, but to no avail. "Children are around, looking at this giant nude man. Is that normal?" she responded, and warned she'd take the matter further. She was even unfazed by school director Maksim Pratusevich's assurance that his students were "sufficiently cultured and educated" not to be shocked by the Renaissance masterpiece.

Her determination may yet win out, it seems. An official of the Michelangelo - Creation of the World exhibition told the RIA-Novosti news agency it "couldn't ignore the criticism". Under the "Dress David" initiative, city residents will first be asked to suggest clothes for the statue, and will then vote in a 16-23 August poll on what to put him in, with one option being to just "keep him as he is".

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