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Louvre painting calls for attack on Putin

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Russian artist Ter-Oganyan's work inciting violence against Vladimir Putin is on display at the Louvre
  • Artist Gil Vincente has also caused controversy with his images of world leaders being assassinated
  • "icon" takes a look at some provocative images of world leaders in recent times
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(CNN) -- Politically controversial works of art -- one of which calls for an attack on Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin -- have gone on display at France's Louvre museum amid speculation and media interest.

The "Counterpoint, Contemporary Russian Art" exhibition opened Thursday with four pieces from Russian artist Avdei Ter-Oganyan's controversial series, "Radical Abstractionism" on show.

In the lead-up to the opening, reports from news outlets including AFP and the Moscow Times stated Russia's Ministry of Culture had initially banned the works from leaving the country. Russia's deputy culture minister Andrei Busygin told the Interfax news agency that the works "could be seen as calls for a coup d'etat."

One of the works in the series, "Radical Abstractionism, No. 8" asks viewers to "commit an attack on statesman V. V. Putin in order to end his state and political activities," in an inscription at the bottom of the canvas.

For its part, the Louvre declined to comment to CNN beyond the fact that the works are now on display.

It follows further artistic controversy in Brazil in September, where portraits by Gil Vincente depicting the assassination of world leaders caused a stir at the Sao Paulo Biennial.

The country's bar association demanded the pictures -- showing statesmen including Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former U.S. president George W. Bush being assassinated -- be removed, arguing they encouraged violence. Organizers of the Biennial refused.

Provocative political statements are nothing new in the world of art: Just last year, an image of President Obama depicted as Batman's nemesis, The Joker, caused uproar in the United States, with many citing the work as racist and demeaning.

 
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