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UK

Nude Venus poster banned on Tube

LONDON (Reuters) - A 16th Century painting of Venus featuring the Roman goddess of love wearing little but a smile has been deemed too risque for the eyes of London’s Tube travellers.

A poster promoting an upcoming Royal Academy exhibition. A 16th Century painting of Venus featuring the Roman goddess of love wearing little but a smile has been deemed too risque for the eyes of London's Tube travellers. REUTERS/Royal Academy of Arts/Handout

London Underground bosses have banned a poster of the 1532 work by German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, promoting an upcoming Royal Academy exhibition.

The Academy is outraged.

*** Have your say on the ban here ***

“We are disappointed and find it quite ridiculous in this day and age,” said Head of Press and Marketing, Jennifer Francis.

“The painting is around 500 years old -- it’s a pure painting by a master,” she told Reuters.

But Transport for London, which operates the Tube network, is unmoved.

“Millions of people travel on the London Underground each day and they have no choice but to view whatever adverts are posted there,” a spokesman said.

“We have to take account of the full range of travellers and endeavour not to cause offence in the advertising we display.”

Advertising standards on the Tube are vetted by the company CBS Outdoor. It states that posters can not “Depict men, women or children in a sexual manner, or display nude or semi-nude figures in an overtly sexual context.”

The Tube has banned historic paintings before.

In 2001 it refused to pass a 17th century portrait by Sir Peter Lely of a mistress in Charles II’s court nonchalantly exposing a breast on a poster for a National Portrait Gallery show.

The Royal Academy, which must now scramble to design another poster for its exhibition, had considered placing black strips over Venus’s offending bodily parts.

But Francis said they will more likely use a cropped version of the painting to advertise the show, which opens on March 8.

Reporting by Georgina Cooper; Editing by Steve Addison

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