Cover-up ordered for the nude behind Berlusconi

Author: By Hilary Clark in Rome

According to Italian newspapers, the Italian premier, 71, chose the painting, The Truth Unveiled by Time, to add grandeur and meaning to Palazzo Chigi press conferences because he related its significance to his own drawn-out struggles with the Italian judiciary, who have persistently accused him of corruption.

However, on closer scrutiny of the images that appeared in the media, Mr Berlusconi’s image advisers decided that a naked breast appearing just above speakers’ heads could distract attention from the great statesman, degrade female ministers and offend television audiences.

In his former life as a media entrepreneur, Mr Berlusconi part-built a multibillion-pound media empire on revenues generated by television programmes featuring gyrating women showing-off their naked breasts. As a politician, he was not adverse to personal touch-ups and cover-ups including hair transplants, dyes, facelifts and the like to increase voter appeal.

Vittorio Sgarbi, a former culture minister in Mr Berlusconi’s first government and the country’s best known art critic, reacted forcefully to the news. “Mad. They are all mad,” he said. “So what do we do with all those statues of women scattered around dozens of Italian museums where often the breasts admired would leave even Pamela Anderson deflated?”

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