Outcry as Berlusconi painted as an angel
Filippo Panseca’s portrait of the married Italian PM controversially unites Silvio with his Minister for Equal Opportunities, Mara Cafagna
He is notorious for making undiplomatic gaffes, has often been alleged to have links with the Mafia, and has been charged many times with bribery and fraud. Yet while few would call Silvio Berlusconi an angel, he has been portrayed as one in a controversial new exhibition.
A painting by the Milan-based artist Filippo Panseca - in a faux-Renaissance style - shows the 72-year-old Italian Prime Minister naked, his modesty covered with a green scarf, his angel’s wings outstretched. Even more contentiously, Berlusconi has been united in the portrait with a second naked angel, Mara Cafagna, his Minister for Equal Opportunities (above). This is the 32-year-old topless model whom he told in 2006 he would like to marry (much to the fury of his wife, Veronica Lario).
Panseca's painting has gone on show at Savona on the Italian Rivera. A local newspaper, Il Secolo XIX, quotes Panseca as saying he wanted to "pay homage to the Prime Minister". But the paper added that "many in Savona are crying scandal" over the exhibition.
As for his inspiration, Panseca would say only that he made use of the internet and borrowed Cafagna's body came from an undisclosed 19th-century artist. Neither Cafagna nor the Berlusconis have commented on the show.
The 69-year-old artist has pledged to donate the profits from the paintings to the victims of last week's earthquake in Abruzzo - so long as Berlusconi buys them. This seems unlikely: only last year the premier censored an embarrassing nipple from a painting by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, which hung in the government press room. ·
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