1933 February 15

U.S. Customs Bars Vatican Art – Including Michelangelo Illustrations

 

U.S. Customs authorities, it was reported on this day, had barred art work from the Vatican from entering the country, including portfolios with illustrations by the renowned painter Michelangelo that were reproductions from the Sistine Chapel in Rome. A story in The New York Times noted that “hardly any pictures in the world are more famous” than the Sistine Chapel frescoes by Michelangelo. Nonetheless, the depiction of male and female nudes made them offensive to U.S. Customs officials. After four days, and the resulting embarrassment to the U.S., Customs released the illustrations for entry into the country.

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