Police have seized an exhibit at the Baltic modern art gallery on Tyneside on the grounds it may have breached child pornography laws.
The Baltic Centre opened in 2002
The image of a child will now be examined by lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service to determine whether it is legal.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said they were alerted to the image by the centre's management team on Thursday.
It is understood the exhibit was seized before being viewed by the public.
The artist's name has not been released and the Baltic has declined to comment.
The £46m Baltic Centre, on Gateshead's Quayside, opened in 2002, and has since attracted 2.5m visitors.