When Berlusconi became prime minister recently, he chose a new backdrop for press conferences. His choice fell on a 18th century painting by the Venetian artist Gianbattista Tiepolo called “Truth unveiled by Time”. It is an allegory showing Time, in the form of an old bearded man, undressing Truth, a beautiful young lady, while Lie is forced away by the vision of Truth unveiled.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he chose that painting to say that the truth about his innocence in the myriad of criminal proceedings he has been involved in, will inevitably be revealed in time.
Unfortunately, the bare breast of Truth had a tendency to pop up just beside Berlusconi’s head in press photos, so even though Berlusconi has made a fortune on television with hordes of scantily clad teenage girls in almost all programmes, this wasn’t quite the image he wanted. After all, he’s an honest man (by his own word), with two marriages and just a handful of affairs on record, and he has never spend a single day in prison.
As a consequence, somebody in Berlusconi’s PR corpse decided to have the painting modified, to cover the breast. The result can be seen on the photo below (shamelessly borrowed from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica).
The original painting, kept safe from Berlusconi’s groping hands in a museum, is here, with the relevant part enlarged (again borrowed from La Repubblica):
The modification of a treasured Italian work of art, even if only on a copy, has caused an uproar in Italy, but then, it is only a very minor gaffe by Berlusconi standard. Now, if he would only claim that Truth is really the communist daughter of a nazi concentration camp guard, that would be more his style.