Source AP ©

Enormous naked balloon sculpture installed in Milan's park

A large (21-meter) floating sculpture of a naked man was mounted in the main park of Milan. A very large fig leaf is needed to restore park’s modesty now!

The balloon self-portrait by Polish artist Pawel Althamer has been hovering outside the Renaissance Palazzina Appiani in Parco Sempione since Monday, drawing second takes, amused looks and some reprobation about exposing children to nudity.

"To be honest with you, it's nothing new," said Rosaria Mirabelli, mother of 3-year-old Tommaso who stared at the sculpture from the back of his mother's bicycle.

"He sees his father naked. In this park we see so many worse things than a naked man," she said, referring to the park's reputation as a haven for drug users.

On weekday afternoons, the park is given over to mothers, nannies and grandparents with preschool age children in tow, along with a few joggers, cyclists and dog owners.

"This wouldn't fly in the U.S.," observed 31-year-old American Adriana Spatafora, an English language teacher passing by.

The work was conceived by Warsaw-based Althamer in 1999 and the Milan installation is accompanied by the artist's show "One of Many," which presents video and sculpture self-portraits.

Flavio Del Monte, spokesman of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation, the show's sponsor, credited the balloon with the high turnout to the event. It has attracted more than 3,000 visitors in its first three days.

Most people have been amused by the sculpture, he said, noting that Italians, surrounded as they are by Renaissance masterpieces, are used to nudity in public places.

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