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Faux Pas
The history of art is replete with religious controversy sparked by the work of one painter or another--the nudes in the Sistine Chapel ceiling for example, or Michelangelo's Last Judgement in which the nude figures were given "britches", as art purists called them, by counter-reformation art hacks less than a century after their completion. A similar fate might have befallen his ceiling had it not been so inconveniently located.

One of the stranger, more humorous religious controversies evolved from errors made by the Northern Renaissance engraver Albrecht Dürer about 1504 in his etchings of Adam and Eve. He depicted them both with navels. Artistically speaking, it was a minor booboo. Biblically speaking, given the circumstances of their births (or lack thereof) it was treated as close to heresy by the clergy of the time.

Contributed by Lane, Jim
22 October 1997

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