Nude statues at Russian university covered up for visiting priests

Cover up! Russian fine arts school covers up nude statues to spare the blushes of visiting Orthodox Church priests

  • Classical sculptures have long adorned the foyer of Novosibirsk State Academy 
  • But they were deemed too risqué for senior churchmen attending a meeting 
  • Sheets pinned with paperclips were draped over naked torsos during their visit

A leading Russian university covered up nude statues to spare the blushes of Orthodox Church priests, sparking a dispute among clerics.

The classical sculptures depicting men and women have long adorned the foyer of Novosibirsk State Academy of Architecture and Fine Arts.

But they were deemed too risqué for senior churchmen attending a meeting who welcomed the censorship.


A leading Russian university covered up nude statues to spare the blushes of Orthodox Church priests. Pictured left, before a statue was covered, and right, after

Sheets pinned with paperclips were draped over naked torsos, although heads were visible

Orange and white sheets pinned with paperclips were draped over the naked torsos, although the heads remained visible.

A spokesman for the university, which is one of the most prestigious in Russia, was coy about the move, saying: ‘Why did we have to cover them? I can’t tell you that.’

But a witness was told that a church delegation was visiting and the draping was undertaken ‘not to hurt their feelings.’


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Archpriest Alexander Matruk, who was among the attendees, supported the cover-up.

‘Why are these sculptures there? What are they for? Art? So what that this is art? People have different views of art,’ he said.

The classical sculptures depicting men and women have long adorned the foyer of Novosibirsk State Academy of Architecture and Fine Arts

A witness was told that a church delegation was visiting and the draping was undertaken ‘not to hurt their feelings’

 The sight of the naked statues might have ‘disturbed’ the priests, Archpriest Alexander Matruk said

‘I think the academy’s officials made the right step by ordering the statues to be covered.’

The sight of the naked statues might have ‘disturbed’ the priests, he added.

After they left, university officials were seen undressing the statues and the university announced they were ‘back to normal.’

 After they left, university officials were seen undressing the statues and the university announced they were ‘back to normal.’ Pictured, inside the academy

A Russian Orthodox Church spokesman said the university (pictured) had ‘gone too far’ in protecting priests from embarrassment

But the Russian Orthodox Church itself criticised the move.

Press secretary Vladimir Legoida said the university had ‘gone too far’ in protecting priests from embarrassment.

The church did not expect top museums to cover-up statues whenever priests visited, he said.

 

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