Italian PM 'enhances' ancient Roman statues

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Italy's prime minister is under attack for authorising what amounts to plastic surgery on two Roman marble statues.

The statues, which depict the naked gods Venus and Mars, are on show in Silvio Berlusconi's Rome residence.

Mr Berlusconi ordered a replacement for the missing penis on the statue of the ancient god of war, and a missing hand for Venus.

Art experts say it is tasteless and aesthetically wrong to replace the missing body parts.

The additions to the two ancient statues, dug up near Rome nearly 100 years ago and now adorning the courtyard of the prime minister's official residence, were ordered personally by Mr Berlusconi.

The statues were formerly kept in a Rome museum.

What has angered art lovers is that this type of cosmetic restoration - which cost more than 73,000 euros ($100,000) - carried out on many damaged ancient Roman and Greek statues from the 17th Century onwards, has now gone out of fashion....

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