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Last Updated: Monday, 4 June 2007, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Naked Blair at centre of art show
The charcoal drawing is based on paintings of Adam and Eve

A drawing which depicts Tony and Cherie Blair naked on the steps of 10 Downing Street is the centrepiece of the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition.

Artist and sculptor Michael Sandle, 71, conceived the three-panel picture, Iraq Triptych, as a protest against the war.

"I suddenly felt overcome with anger at the way Blair has messed up," he told the Guardian newspaper.

The Summer Exhibition, now in its 239th year, is billed as the world's largest display of contemporary art.

Light is the overall theme of this year's exhibition, which opens to the public on 11 June.

'Vanity'

Sandle's Iraq Triptych will hang in Gallery V, and has been awarded the exhibition's Hugh Casson prize for drawing.

The work, in charcoal and chalk, is based on medieval paintings of Adam and Eve being banished from the Garden of Eden.

Side panels show Iraqi civilians being abused by British troops.

Sandle said he had not planned to submit any work, and had to scramble to meet the deadline after being overcome with anger at Mr Blair.

David Hockney unveils his painting
David Hockney unveiled his painting last week
"There he was, elected by a huge majority, and he has allowed his vanity to destroy it all," he said.

More than 13,000 works were submitted to the Royal Academy this year, before judges whittled them down to a final list of 1,200.

Among them is the largest painting to have been created by world famous British artist David Hockney.

His landscape, Bigger Trees Near Warter, is 40ft by 15ft and dominates the end wall of the Academy's largest gallery.

As has become tradition, the Academy's courtyard will be occupied by a large-scale sculpture.

This year sees the space taken over by three eight-metre steel dinosaurs, created by English conceptual artists Jake and Dinos Chapman.

Their installation, entitled The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth But Not The Mineral Rights, can be seen until 19 August, 2007, when the exhibition draws to a close.




SEE ALSO
Hockney unveils huge art canvas
25 May 07 |  Entertainment
In Pictures: Summer Exhibition 2006
07 Jun 06 |  In Pictures
Hirst statue unveiled in London
22 May 06 |  Entertainment

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