Madonna Billboard Causes Stir in Milan
Thu, 10 Aug 2006 16:43:21
As part of an advertisement for the fashion chain Hennes & Maritz, the landmark Duomo cathedral in Milan has been covered with a larger-than-life picture of Madonna, global pop icon and occasional thorn in the side of the Roman Catholic Church. The ad makes no attempt to push envelopes -- it features the singer fully clothed in angelic white, with her eyes downcast -- but it's still causing some unrest in Italy, thanks largely to the controversy surrounding Madonna's in-concert mock crucifixion at, seen recently at her tour stops in Italy.
"It's diabolical," said Albertina Santos, whose husband is a pastor in nearby Verona. "This doesn't look right, it's not the right thing for a Christian."
"She's an artist who does things that are almost pornographic," a Spanish tourist told Reuters while surveying the ad. "I don't like that it's on a cathedral."
Too bad, says the church. The advertisement is part of a plan to raise money for a restoration -- it actually covers scaffolding that currently obscures part of the cathedral's exterior -- and they have dismissed criticism by noting that the poster is "just an ad." The offended parties -- primarily Catholic parent organizations -- had reason to think their prayers would be answered; last year, clergymen at the St. Pantaleo church in Rome agreed to remove a promotional poster for The Da Vinci Code following complaints. No such luck this time, as Duomo's Monsignor says that the poster will remain.
Vittorio Sgarbi, the head of culture on Milan's city council, applauded the church's decision. "The other parts of the building are full of devils and demons," he noted. "So an infernal Madonna shouldn't hurt us too badly."