Florence’s Uffizi Gallery shut down by Chinese officials

Image copyright AFP Image caption A woman stands outside Florence’s Uffizi gallery on Saturday

A new exhibition of provocative art in Florence has been met with protests by Chinese officials, who have refused to let the exhibit take place.

The Beijing Academy of Art came under fire for displaying Chinese traditional masks in the Uffizi Gallery amid a cultural spat between China and Italy.

Many of the show’s works have had to be moved out of China, according to The Associated Press.

The art school later issued a statement saying they would find a way to bring the show to China.

Florence’s Uffizi is home to a number of works of artistic significance including works by Titian, Giotto and Botticelli.

It opened “The Workshop of Tolerance” on Saturday, showing a selection of artwork that some viewers would perceive as provocative.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Protesters held up signs outside the National Gallery of Art in Brussels on Friday

Li Qiang, a man dressed in traditional Chinese robes, said he took issue with the fact that the exhibit included masks from the Shanghai Puppet Theater of 300 years ago.

“Masks are not appropriate for this historical work, given its controversial message,” he said.

The Beijing Academy of Art has attempted to mitigate the blow of the protests, saying in a statement that they would “do our best to bring [the show] to China”.

A similar protest was staged outside the US National Gallery of Art in Washington earlier this week, when US ambassador to China Terry Branstad attended an exhibition of Chinese ceramic objects.

Paintings on show at the Seattle Art Museum also drew protests from authorities in China for similar reasons.

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