A Glasgow restaurant has been forced to change its adverts featuring Michelangelo's David after they were blocked due to nudity. 

Original designs commissioned by the Italian restaurant Barolo were rejected from advertising spaces in Glasgow's Subway over modesty concerns. 

Featuring the phrase "It doesn't get more Italian", the poster showed the Renaissance sculpture holding a slice of pizza. 

Despite being considered one of the most recognizable statues in the world, advertising giant Global, which runs the marketing space, rejected the poster showing David cropped at the knees. 

READ MORE: Parents in US say no to Michelangelo being taught in schools


The restaurant then suggested stickers of the Italian flag were used to cover the sculpture's modesty but these were then deemed too small and the design wasn't approved.

A full reprint of the adverts with the sculpture cropped at the waist was then required for the posters to be displayed on the subway.

Mario Gizzi, director of the DRG Group, which runs Barolo and several other restaurants in Scotland, said they were "bemused" upon hearing the decision. 

“This is a globally recognised piece of art," he said. "It is taught in schools. People from all over the world travel to see it. 

“It’s not the 1500s anymore, it’s 2023. Are we really saying that the people of Glasgow can’t handle seeing a naked statue?

“Barolo is all about Italy’s classic cooking and Michelangelo’s David is one of the country’s most famous artworks – as the ad states, it doesn’t get more Italian than that."

The 5.17m (17ft) statue, which depicts a naked David - the Biblical figure who kills the giant Goliath, was created at the start of the 16th century.

Mr Gizzi added: “We were somewhat bemused to receive an email from Global which confirmed that after checking with SPT, our ad could not be used as ‘it is art but it is still nudity and way it is cropped in this copy may not be suitable for the untargeted medium’.

"We then had to go to the cost of a full reprint."

HeraldScotland: The approved designThe approved design (Image: DRG)

It is not the first time the world-renowned sculpture created controversy over recent months. 

A principal of a Florida school was forced to resign after a parent complained that sixth-grade students who were shown the statue were 'exposed to pornography'. 

Principal Hope Carrasquilla of Tallahassee Classical School said she resigned after she was given an ultimatum by the school board to resign or be fired, according to local media. 

Richard Demarco, a Scottish artist and patron of the Edinburgh Festival told the Times he feared the market was forcing "prudery" around such pieces of classic art.

He added: "It's absolutely as I would expect and obviously, this is nonsense.

"It proves that despite their efforts, both Glasgow and Edinburgh are not exactly relied upon to understand the true message of great artists.

"I think it’s a fantastic idea to have an image of that masterpiece on the Glasgow underground, and its citizenry is very fortunate to be so educated by it."

The Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) said their code does not prohibit nudity but it is the right of media owners to refuse spaces.

A spokesperson said: "It's in the gift of media owners to refuse advertising space.

"They often have their own criteria, alongside the Advertising Code, for what they will accept.

"That is a commercial decision and not something we regulate. We respond to concerns about ads once they’re in the public domain. The Advertising Code does not prohibit nudity in ads. 

"Under our rules, providing the level of nudity is not explicit or gratuitous and is relevant to the product, some nudity may be considered acceptable.

"Our criteria isn’t based on the ‘amount’ of nudity in an ad, but instead whether an ad’s content as well as its targeting or placement is irresponsible and likely to cause serious or widespread offence."

Global was contacted for comment.