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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 01:39 GMT
French court bans Christ advert
Advertisement for French designers Marithe and Francois Girbaud
The controversial poster has already been banned in Italy
France's Catholic Church has won a court injunction to ban a clothing advertisement based on Leonardo da Vinci's Christ's Last Supper.

The display was ruled "a gratuitous and aggressive act of intrusion on people's innermost beliefs", by a judge.

The church objected to the female version of the fresco, which includes a female Christ, used by clothing designers Marithe et Francois Girbaud.

The authorities in the Italian city of Milan banned the poster last month.

The French judge in the case ordered that all posters on display should be taken down within three days.

The association which represented the church was also awarded costs.

The designers are said to be planning an appeal, saying they did not intend to offend anyone with the campaign.


Italy's advertising watchdog said the ad's use of Christian symbols including a dove and a chalice recalled the foundations of the faith and would offend the sensitivity of part of the population.

The Catholic Church used a similar argument against the advert, which also shows two of the apostles embracing a bare-chested man in jeans.

"When you trivialise the founding acts of a religion, when you touch on sacred things, you create an unbearable moral violence which is a danger to our children," said lawyer Thierry Massis.

"Tomorrow, Christ on the cross will be selling socks."

But lawyers for the fashion house said banning the image would amount to censorship.

"The work is a photograph based on a painting, not on the Bible," said lawyer Bernard Cahen.

"There is nothing in it that is offensive to the Catholic religion. It is a way of showing the place of women in society today, which is a reflection of our changing values."

The campaign is said to have been inspired by Dan Brown's bestseller The Da Vinci Code which refers to the 15th-Century fresco.

Milan bans 'blasphemous' poster
04 Feb 05 |  Europe

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