Nude Harper painting gets chilly online reception

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  1. A Kingston artist has painted a nude portrait of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and put a price of $5,000 on her work, Emperor Haute Couture.

    We posted the painting on Twitter, altering it a bit to preserve the prime minister's modesty. 
  2. Margaret Sutherland's painting is on display at The Kingston Frontenac Public Library central branch for the Kingston Arts Council's annual art show. The 1.5-metre wide canvas depicts Harper naked on a chaise longue, along with a grey dog, surrounded by faceless people in business attire. The female "suit" is handing Harper a Tim Hortons cup on a silver tray.

    The portrait is a modern and satirical take on Renaissance nudes like Giorgione's Sleeping Venus and Titian's Venus of Urbino...
  3. ...which in turn inspired Impressionists like Édouard Manet:
  4. Commenting on Kingstonist.com, Sutherland says she is "starting to get very ticked off at the library." She claims the library has covered up the painting and taken it down at certain times.
  5. Speaking to the Kingston Whig Standard, chief librarian Patricia Enright said the painting is hanging in a room used for various functions, including children's events.

    "When the Emperor Haute Couture went up, we also had quite a few bookings with children’s recitals during the same month," she told the Whig. "And so the library in terms of looking at the policy had also said that the library retains the right to determine the suitability of any proposed exhibit, and they must be reviewed within a context of the public space and its users."


  6. Now, though, the image has spread to the internet, and reviews are coming swiftly.
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