When a Florida school principal resigned after complaints that pupils had been shown Michelangelo’s statue of David, many people reacted by saying “only in America”.
But David’s naked figure has caused trouble for an even less likely destination: an Italian restaurant in Scotland.
Glasgow’s Barolo restaurant produced a commercial showing Michelangelo’s David eating a pizza, but the city’s underground advertising firm, Global, turned it down.
Barolo says he had proposed covering the offending genitals with stickers of the Italian flag, but that too was rejected as too small.
The published version of the advertisement seen on public transport in Glasgow now depicts Michelangelo’s David from the waist up.
Mario Gizzi, director of the DRG group which manages Barolo and many other establishments, remains indifferent.
“It is a globally recognized work of art. It is taught in schools. People from all over the world travel to see it,” he told RockedBuzz via Euronews.
“It’s not 1500 anymore, it’s 2023. Are we really saying that people in Glasgow can’t stand to see a naked statue?
He added: “We were somewhat perplexed to receive an email from Global confirming that our ad could not be used as ‘it’s art but it’s still nudity and the way it’s cropped in this copy may not be suited to the medium not targeted.’ We therefore had to bear the cost of a full reprint.”
The UK’s advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Agencyhe stated that there was no specific rule prohibiting nudity in advertising.
But he added: ‘It is a gift from media owners to reject ad slots. They often have their own criteria, along with the Advertising Code, for what they will accept. This is a business decision and not something we regulate. We address ad concerns once they are in the public domain.
The ASA said its code does not specifically prohibit nudity in advertisements, as long as it is not explicit or gratuitous and is relevant to the product.
But nudity that is “sexual in nature,” says the ASA, “should only appear in targeted media.”
Global was contacted for comment.