This Europe: German Greens tweak the nipple of taste

A woman naked to the waist, in a bathtub framed by red satin curtains, gently pinches the nipple of another naked woman. The pair are Gabrielle d'Estrées, the mistress of Henri IV, and one of her sisters, and their nude bathing scene is an anonymous work of the Fontainebleau School painted in 1595.

But the picture, appreciated by the millions of art lovers who queue to see it at the Louvre each year, is suddenly at the centre of a mini political storm in Germany. The mayor of Konigstein-im-Taunus in the western German state of Hesse decided earlier this week that a Green party election poster inspired by the Renaissance-era painting was an affront to the 4,000 citizens of his town.

The poster promoting new legislation on the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry, shows, in the manner of Gabrielle d'Estrées and her sister, two bathing naked women, one pinching the other's nipple. That would have been at the limits of good taste so far as Siegfried Fricke, the Christian Democrat (CDU) mayor, was concerned. But the Greens added a naked male couple behind the women, one pinching the nipple of a smiling bathing companion, and a cheeky caption hinting that sex might be about to take place.

"The representation of two naked women in the company of two naked men suggests a sexual act, the depiction of which crosses the line into pornography," Mr Fricke solemnly declared before ordering the posters be removed. He also imposed a fine of €150 (£95) on the Green party for each of the offending items remaining on display in the town. The advertising agency behind the campaign said it was surprised at the reaction.

"We were inspired by a famous piece of art which has a lesbian theme. But the poster is ironic and we did not really think it would offend anyone," said Bernd Heusinger of Zum Goldenin Hirschen.

But CDU bosses in Berlin have now suggested that Mr Fricke may have been over-sensitive, in the light of the conservative party's attempts to modernise its image ahead of the general election on 22 September. The official town hall website said yesterday that the posters could be reinstated.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her