social network

Facebook banned nude portraits of Rubens. In response, activists pretended to be “social network inspectors” and came to the museum

They began to forbid visitors with accounts on Facebook to look at the pictures.

In early July, on the page of the tourist office of the Flemish region of Belgium in Facebook published posts with paintings by the artist Peter Paul Rubens. After some time, the social network algorithm deleted the records. The bureau did not specify which pictures were attached to the post, but noted that they featured half-naked women.

Art censorship continues to haunt Peter Paul Rubens. In the 17th century, the church asked to hide nude body parts in the paintings of the Flemish painter with loincloths.

Today, social media, including Facebook, have taken a step forward. They use the technology of artificial intelligence, which makes no distinction between pornography and nudity in art.

tourist office of the Flemish region of Belgium

In response to the social network, activists from the tourist department published a video entitled “Rubens paintings of the 16th century against the laws of social networks of the 21st century”. They pretended to be “Facebook inspectors” and came to the Rubens house museum in Antwerp. There they began to ask visitors if they have an account on the social network.

If activists received a positive response, they forbade visitors to look at naked portraits – they closed their eyes and took them to landscapes, as well as to other “safe” canvases.

Throughout the world, the works of our Flemish masters adorn the walls of famous museums. But in Flanders you can really admire their skills. Rubens, Brueghel and Van Eyck lived and worked here. Moreover, in Flanders their work is often hanging in the places where they were created.

tourist office of the Flemish region of Belgium

The Flanders Tourist Office together with museums and other cultural institutions also sent an open letter to the head of the social network Mark Zuckerberg. In it he was asked to “put an end to artistic censorship”.

The breasts, buttocks and cherubs of Peter Paul Rubens are considered indecent. Not us, but you. Despite the fact that we secretly laugh at this, your cultural censorship greatly complicates our lives.

from an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg

As noted by the edition of The Brussels Times, the travel agency of the Flemish region of Belgium developed a plan for 2018-2020. It wanted to promote in Facebook the work of Rubens, Brueghel, Van Eyck. But because of the social network policy it became impossible.

Unfortunately, the promotion of our unique cultural heritage in the most popular social network of the world is now impossible.

Peter de Wilde (Peter De Wilde)
director of the tourist office of the Flemish region of Belgium

The management of the social network has not yet commented on the incident. In addition, this is not the first time that Facebook removes works of art depicting nude figures. In March 2017, the social network removed advertising of the auction because of the picture of the Australian artist Charles Blackman “Women-lover.” Facebook’s administration blocked a video with a note that it “violates advertising rules and promotes sexual goods intended for adults.”

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