Polish artists to be sued over depicting Pope John Paul II being breastfed

(AP)
In this file photo, Pope John Paul II smiles before addressing the faithful assembled for the traditional Sunday noon blessing at the Pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, near Rome, Sunday August 13, 1995

A Polish art collective is being sued for their depiction of Pope John Paul II being breast fed by a man.

The Krasnals, or Dwarfs, have painted a large montage picture, entitled 'Battle of Grunwald / The Ship of Fools' which depicts several cartoons of prominent figures of contemporary Poland.

The image that has offended is a relatively small part of the whole picture, but it features Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, the head of a controversial right wing Catholic radio station, breast feeding the late Pope John Paul II.

Ryszard Nowak from the All-Poland Committee Against Sects And Violence said in the Daily Mail: "This is outrageous and goes against all the norms of decency.

"It offends the religious feelings of millions of people and is insulting to both Father Rydzyk and the late Pope."

A spokesman for the Krasnals however suggested in the Daily Mail that such complaints would only be found among people who "confuse reality with science fiction" and insisted that the painting was "no more than an artistic work of fiction".

They also suggested that the criticisms were only coming from groups of people among whom "the level of artistic education is so low".

"They are little more than cartoons with a sense of humour in the genre of 'South Park'."

Defending the painting, they say: "Its message is exclusively positive, without any intention of causing offence. It seems it is our Polish heritage that makes us want to see the devil and evil in everything."

The group's other works have included graffiti of smiling faces on walls which according to their blog are a "commentary on the excessive and inexplicable optimism of Poles facing deteriorating situation".

They have also been behind surrealist protests in favour of legalised prostitution and sit-ins objecting to statues of fighting goats.

Nowak however does have experience of successful prosecutions in the past.

In 2009 he opened a case against Polish singer Dorota "Doda" Rabczewska for the crime of defamation of religions, resulting in a conviction that lead to a 5,000 Zloty fine (around £1,000) in 2012.

Questioning the artistic merit of the painting, Mr Nowak said: "I fail to see how it is art. It is degrading and it has the word art attached to it to give it some credence and credibility that it does not deserve."

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