In an effort to get their viewers to broaden their cultural horizons and promote a healthy appreciation for erotic content that pre-dates the internet, Pornhub rolled out an interactive guide to all the Classic Nudes hanging on the walls of major art institutions last month. Unfortunately, it seems like some of those museums weren't super appreciative of the initiative.

Both the Louvre and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, are suing Pornhub for using and re-creating some of these nudes without the institutions' express permission. "No one has granted authorisations for the operation or use of the art," said a spokesperson for the Uffizi which is suing the site over its recreation of Titian's Venus of Urbino (which has since been taken down).

"In Italy, the cultural heritage code provides that in order to use images of a museum, compressed works for commercial purposes, it is necessary to have the permission, which regulates the methods and sets the relative fee to be paid," the spokesperson continues. "All this obviously if the museum grants the authorization which, for example, would hardly have been issued in this case."

The Louvre had a similar gripe with the porn site, with their spokesperson commenting "Pornhub has heard from our lawyers. We expect the works to be removed at once." While the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York isn't outright suing, its chief communications officer, Kenneth Weine, has thrown some subtle shade at the project telling Hyperallergic that they "will not be taking any action that directly or indirectly raises awareness of this project."

While it is true that the project was ultimately the brainchild of Pornhub's marketing department, Classic Nudes did genuinely have good intentions. According to the initial press about the project, Classic Nudes was intended to help promote fine art institutions such as The Louvre, The Met, The Prado, The National Gallery and more that have struggled during the pandemic and are just now starting to open back up.

"There's a treasure trove of erotic art around the world – depicting nudes, orgies and more – that's not available on Pornhub. These pre-Internet art pieces are currently sitting in museums, which we are now finally able to start visiting again as COVID restrictions are starting to lift," Pornhub brand ambassador, Asa Akira, said in a statement. "So as people start to head back to The Louvre or The Met, they can simply open Classic Nudes, and I'll be their guide. Time to ditch those boring self-tour recordings and enjoy every single brushstroke of these erotic masterpieces with me."

For the time being, it appears that Pornhub hasn't scrapped the project altogether so if you're still interested in perusing the lewder side of art history or more information about Classic Nudes head over to their official website here.

Photo courtesy of Pornhub

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