An art exhibit at the European Union’s Parliament building in Brussels, Belgium, has prompted criticism from conservative politicians in Italy for its display of a blasphemous depiction of Jesus Christ and the apostles.

The artwork, a series of photographs by lesbian Swedish photographer Elisabeth Ohlson, includes one of a man who is meant to represent Christ wearing a white robe and a halo made out of stars above his head. The man is surrounded by seven men who are wearing leather-based fetish clothing associated with BDSM fetishism.

Ohlson said the photographs are meant to depict Christ supporting homosexual rights. 

“There [are] a lot of pictures of Jesus with heterosexual [people],” Ohlson said on Twitter. “Millions, billions of paintings, famous artists. But this is just 12 pictures of Jesus loving the LGBT rights, so 12 pictures should not be so scary for them.” 

The photos have faced backlash from conservative members of the European Parliament, some of whom accused the depiction of being disrespectful. 

The exhibit, which opened on May 2 and runs through May 5, kicked off with a reception hosted by Malin Björk, a member of the European Parliament for the Swedish Left Party.

Some Italian lawmakers took to social media to voice their objections.

“Art?” Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said in a Facebook post. “No, just vulgarity and disrespect.”

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Jorge Buxadé, an Italian member of the European Union Parliament, called the display “disgusting and miserable” in a Tweet. “The European Parliament has become a space of impunity for the LGTBIQ+ lobby with the complicity of the left … and liberal,” Buxadé said. “My infinite contempt for the author, the promoters and those who have allowed it.”

Maria Veronica Rossi, another member of the European Union Parliament, told Press Italy 24 News the display lacked respect. 

“It is legitimate to address issues of all kinds in institutional settings, but exploiting a religion is an intolerable lack of respect for millions of faithful throughout Europe,” Rossi said. “Other than cultural insight, this appears as a gratuitous provocation: Why offend and lack respect?”

Ohlson said in an Instagram post that there were efforts to get her photograph and some other pieces of artwork removed from the display and some who called for the entire exhibit to be shut down. 

The artist has a history of making blasphemous artwork that goes back decades. Starting in 1998, she toured Sweden with an exhibition called Ecce Homo, which contained several blasphemous depictions of Christ that promoted homosexuality, transgenderism, and BDSM fetishism. The exhibit was displayed in numerous churches that are in communion with the Lutheran Church of Sweden.

Although the exhibit created some controversy in Sweden, it faced heavier criticism when displayed at the Belgrade Pride festival in Serbia. Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church called the exhibit “deeply insulting” and “blasphemous” and even requested that the government ban it. 

“I had not expected that this year I would again be forced to turn to you on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church, its members, who are the dominant majority in Serbia, and on behalf of numerous members of other religions, with the plea and demand that, by your authority as prime minister, you prevent the scandalous exhibit of photographs by Swedish artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin,” Patriarch Irinej said

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For years, the European Union Parliament refused to display Nativity scenes around Christmastime, out of concern that it could be “potentially offensive.” However, last year, after lobbying from Christian members, the Parliament displayed a Nativity scene for the first time in its history.