As of today, these demure but solid white panes fence many sculptures at the Rome’s Capitoline Museum to obscure nudity. The action was taken as a sign of respect for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose country is a strongly conservative Islamic republic, according to Italian news agency Ansa.
It was Italian PM Matteo Renzi’s order to hide all the nude sculptures on display at Capitoline Museum, so as not to offend Iranian President.
Mr Rouhani arrived in Rome on Monday to sign contracts, summing up to €17 billion ($18.4 billion).
It’s not the first time Italy has covered up artworks to avoid misunderstandings with Muslim guests. In October of 2015, when the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, visited Florence, the “Gazing Ball” statue by American sculptor Jeff Koons was covered up to avoid the sheikh’s blushes.
Many Italians responded with barely concealed irony over the covering of the sculptures. Some responded by sharing images of statues with exposed genitals across various social media platforms under the hashtag #statuenude.
Many people also shared a seemingly doctored image pictures similar to the official photo of the delegation against the backdrop of a different painting with no nudity in it.
An article in the Independent, Italy covers up naked statues for Iran President Hassan Rouhani’s visit has a tiny video clip from the hallways of the museum and, more importantly, an indignant reaction of some Iranians to the Italy’s bending down to the “Islamic values.” Most harsh and outspoken is a statement issued by Iranian women’s rights campaign group My Stealthy Freedom.