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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 July 2007, 23:32 GMT 00:32 UK
Painting meets its femme fatale
Red lips (archive)
The kiss left a red stain on the pristine canvas
A woman who says she was so overcome with passion for a valuable painting on display in France, has been charged with criminal damage after kissing it.

The immaculate white canvas so attracted Rindy Sam she smudged it with her lipstick, saying later she had wanted to make it even more beautiful.

The 3x2m (9x6-foot) painting by US artist Cy Twombly is valued at more than $2m (970,000).

Ms Sam, herself an artist, is due to appear in court on 16 August.

This red stain is testimony to this moment, to the power of art
Rindy Sam

Staff at the Collection Lambert museum in the southern French city of Avignon alerted police after the incident on Thursday afternoon and she was arrested as she was walking out.

"I left a kiss," she told La Provence newspaper on leaving the police station.

"A red stain remained on the canvas... This red stain is testimony to this moment, to the power of art."

Speaking to French news agency AFP, she said the artist had "left this white" for her.

The museum is hosting an exhibition of works by Twombly entitled Blooming.

The artist was born in Lexington, Virginia, in 1928 and has been living in Italy for nearly half a century.

He won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the 2001 Venice Biennale.

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