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Gun Ad With Michelangelo's 'David' Sparks Outrage In Italy

The ad from U.S. company ArmaLite Inc. shows the famous statue holding a $3,000 bolt action rifle with the tagline "A Work of Art."

Gun Ad With Michelangelo's 'David' Sparks Outrage In Italy
Twitter / @ArmaLiteInc
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Italy's culture minister isn't happy about a U.S. company's rifle ad. In fact, he says it's illegal.

The Independent points out the ad from Illinois-based ArmaLite Inc. shows Michelangelo's statue of "David" holding a $3,000 bolt action rifle with the tagline "A Work of Art."

The Italian culture minister says the ad is offensive. In a tweet the BBC translated, he said in part: "We will take action against the American company so that it immediately withdraws its campaign."

The culture minister's response is coming almost a year after the company came out with the ad. It was actually published on Twitter back in May of 2013. (Via Twitter / @ArmaLiteInc)

And just a month earlier, in its work of art campaign, the company tweeted this photo which shows one of its rifles placed in between the American Gothic and Mona Lisa paintings. (Via Twitter / @ArmaLiteInc)

So what makes the ad illegal? According to RTE, anyone who commercially uses a picture of the iconic Florence statue has to get permission from the government and pay for a fee — both of which ArmaLite reportedly didn't do.

The curator of Italy's Historical Heritage and Fine Arts Board has issued a "legal notice" for ArmaLite to remove its ad entirely. A writer for The Wire sarcastically wrote: "It's always nice to see America making such positive impressions overseas."

It's not clear what could happen if the company doesn't remove its ad. So far, there's been no reported response from ArmaLite.