Italian PM's Aides Cover Painting's Exposed Breast

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's staff have altered a reproduction of a famous 18th-century painting by Giambattista Tiepolo to cover an exposed breast. The picture was in the press room in the Palazzo Chigi, the prime minister's palace.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

While we're on the topic of Italy and good taste, one final note. The boxed wine controversy pales in comparison to this intriguing political cover-up. If you've ever seen that televised press conference with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, you may have noticed something peculiar looming above his head, a woman's bare breast. It belongs to the subject of Time Unveiling Truth, an 18th-century painting by Venetian master Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The painting is a reproduction, actually, but that's a breast nonetheless.

Well, a strategically painted layer of clothing has now appeared, covering the offending anatomy. A government spokesman says the cover-up was an initiative of those on the staff of the prime minister who take care of Berlusconi's image. Of course, that image also includes a habit of making sexist remarks in public. And as a media mogul, Berlusconi made a fortune on TV channels that air shows full of women in various stages of undress. And did we mention that his minister of equal opportunities is a former topless model?

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