The pastor of the Italian city of Pietrasanta, together with local Catholic associations, have lodged a complaint with city officials over a picture of the Virgin Mary holding a child-like Adolph Hitler in her arms.
The picture titled, “The Virgin of the Third Reich” belongs to the collection of Italian artist Giuseppe Veneziano, known in the region for his works mocking various historical figures including Jesus Christ and Pope Benedict XVI.
The controversial piece was used on a poster promoting the Zeitgeist Expo, which will feature various works by Veneziano at the Panichi Palace in Pietrasanta starting this weekend. It is being sponsored by local officials.
The mayor of Pietrasanta, Domenico Lombardi, has publicly apologized to Catholics for the picture and organizers of the expo have pulled the controversial piece from the Zeitegeist program.
“I assume all responsibility for the publication of this picture, but I had not seen it beforehand, and had I, I would have selected another one,” Lombardi told local reporters. “I apologize if the painting offends anyone’s religious sensibilities.”
Veneziano also has complained to reporters about the decision to pull the piece and claimed to be a victim of censorship.