Berlusconi Replaces Ancient Penis—on Statue
Art experts slam 'plastic surgery' on Roman statue
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2010 2:44 AM CST
Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi gestures while speaking at an EU summit in Brussels last month.   (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

(Newser) – A penis has, once again, landed Silvio Berlusconi in trouble. The Italian leader is under fire for spending some $100,000 in public funds to replace a missing penis on a 2nd-century Roman statue of Mars and a hand on a statue of Venus, the BBC reports. Art experts complain that replacing the missing parts is tasteless and fails to respect the rules of art restoration. The statues, on loan from a museum, are kept in the courtyard of Berlusconi's official residence.

'It's horrific," one art historian said. "You just can't add on bits ad hoc to these works of art—the penis and hands may well have been there originally and then removed but you can't add something on like a plastic model." Berlusconi's official architect says the "plastic surgery" was officially authorized and shouldn't be so controversial. The new penis, he says, is detachable.