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Friday, April 18, 2008

ஏசு கிறிஸ்துவும் அவரது சீடரும் ஓரின புண்ர்ச்சியில் ஈடுபடுவதாக சித்தரிக்கும் ஓவியம் ‍ அகற்றப்பட்டது

Museum visitors look at artworks by Alfred Hrdlicka.

Photograph: Lilli Strauss/AP

A row has broken out in Austria over an artwork depicting Jesus Christ and his disciples engaged in an orgy during the Last Supper.

The black and white etching went on show last month as part of an exhibition of works by the Austrian artist Alfred Hrdlicka at an Archdiocese of Vienna museum.

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, ordered the offending artwork to be removed after an uproar likened by the Austrian media to that sparked by cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

The exhibition's curator, Michael Kaufmann, said today: "I've even seen web postings from extremists who have threatened to come to Vienna and blow up its museums with Molotov cocktails."

Hrdlicka's rendition of the Last Supper shows Jesus and his disciples engaged in sex acts on the table where the Bible says they shared a final meal before Christ's crucifixion.

The 80-year-old artist drew the picture in 1984 as a tribute to Pier Paolo Pasolini, an Italian philosopher and award-winning filmmaker whose treatment of religious themes put him at odds with the Catholic church.

One visitor to the exhibition, Richard Lyon, from Glasgow, wrote in the museum's guestbook: "That such an exhibit is on display in a diocesan museum is unbelievable. I am deeply offended and profoundly disgusted Whatever led the directors and others responsible to think that our Lord could be represented in such a way?"

Schoenborn called Hrdlicka "one of Austria's most important living artists", but said this week: "The exhibition does not mean that the cathedral museum identifies with all of Hrdlicka's works.

"Of course, I would not have agreed to the presentation of works which are blasphemous or pornographic. I therefore expressly regret that a picture of this kind - without my knowledge - was included in the exhibition.

This picture, which is injurious to the faithful, was removed on my orders on March 20."

Bernhard Boehler, the director of the museum, which is located across the cobblestones from St Stephen's Cathedral in the Austrian capital, said he was "surprised at the heat of the battle" over the drawing.

He said the museum decided to remove the offending work "out of consideration for the religious feelings of some Christians".

"The protests came primarily out of fundamentalist Christian circles in the USA and Germany," Boehler said.

"There is a long dialogue between art and the church. For the church, the quality is decisive - not the piety of the artwork."

Hrdlicka has not released a statement on the row. The etching has been moved to the private Ernst Hilger gallery, a short walk from the cathedral museum where the rest of his works will remain on display until May 10.

This article was first published on guardian.co.uk on Friday April 11 2008. It was last updated at 15:16 on April 14 2008.
Angela Balakrishnan and agencies
guardian.co.uk,
Friday April 11 2008
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This article was first published on guardian.co.uk on Friday April 11 2008. It was last updated at 15:16 on April 14 2008.

http://www.guardian.co.uk:80/world/2008/apr/11/religion.austria

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