Italy Fumes Over Rifle Ad With Statue of David
ArmaLite sparks row over ad for $3K rifle
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2014 2:55 PM CDT
The ArmaLite ad with Michelangelo's David.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Italians are a wee bit upset about an ArmaLite ad that shows a massive $3,000 rifle cradled in the arms of Michelangelo's David, the BBC reports. "The image of David, armed, offends and infringes the law," tweeted culture minister Dario Franceschini. He vowed to take action against the Illinois-based small arms company for its AR-50A1 rifle ad, which reads "a work of art" along the top. A gallery director in Florence noted that the law forbids distorting a work of art's aesthetic value: "In this case, not only is the choice in bad taste but also completely illegal."

"It is an act of violence towards the sculpture; like taking a hammer to it and perhaps, actually, even worse," said a city councilor in Florence, reports the Guardian. But Italian art critic Philippe Daverio pooh-poohed the uproar, comparing ArmaLite's ad to cheeky images of a mustached Mona Lisa: "Certain cultural icons belong to everyone and no one; to humanity in general," he said. If true, that's good news for ArmaLite, which has another ad showing its AR-301A on a museum wall between American Gothic and the Mona Lisa—pointed at Mona Lisa's head, The Wire reports.