Authorities are threatening to jail an artist, saying his reproduction of Michelangelo‘s painting of Eve is illegal because Adam’s wife has bare breasts.
The original of the fresco “The Creation of Man” is in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. One year ago, Edward Stross reproduced part of it on the side of his studio, Gonzo Fine Arts Studio.
“This is one of the world’s most famous paintings,” said Stross, 42. “This is not my work. It is Michelangelo’s, and all I am trying to do is brighten up our community.”
But Roseville officials say the topless Eve violates a 1997 agreement that granted Stross an exemption from a municipal sign ordinance. The agreement said he could not paint words, breasts or genitals.
“He failed to live up to that agreement,” city attorney Timothy Tomlinson told The Detroit News. “The issue is the sign ordinance and his variance.”
On Sept. 17, Stross is scheduled to appear in Roseville’s 39-A District Court on the charge, which carries a possible 90-day jail sentence.
“They’re trying to turn my message into something it’s not,” Stross, who is selling $5 paintings of angels for his legal defense fund, told the Detroit Free Press. “I’d like to think that I’m a respected member of the community.”
Stross has had other run-ins with authorities in the Detroit suburb.
He spent seven years painting 150 faces, including Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Bessette, for a mural on the side of his building.
After being ticketed, he covered it with pink paint.