Flat Earth: Tiberian cover-up

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The Independent Online
WHILE the Vatican removes the veils and draperies, added in a 17th-century fit of modesty, from the nude figures in its frescoes, a curious counter-move takes place across the Tiber, at the Italian parliament. The new speaker, Irene Pivetti, 31, has had three 16th-century paintings of naked Venuses banned from the Chamber of Deputies, including one in her own study showing a sleeping Venus being spied on by what is described as an 'excited admirer behind a drape'. So far, the attack of official prudery has spread no further. At the Italian embassy this month, when National Day was celebrated, at least one splendidly bare goddess was still on the walls gazing languorously over the scrum of Excellencies and towards the US embassy across the square. How long, of course, she remains to be seen remains to be seen.

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