MET refuses to take down controversial painting after enraged New Yorkers claim it 'sexualizes' girls

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will not remove a controversial painting which depicts a young girl in a suggestive pose by the French painter known as Balthus from public display.

                            MET refuses to take down controversial painting after enraged New Yorkers claim it 'sexualizes' girls

Mia Merrill, a New Yorker, went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art over the weekend like most art aficionados to see a painting exhibition. Instead of appreciating the work of the French artist, Mia was shocked to see a painting of a young girl in a sexually suggestive pose, with her underwear visible.

The controversial painting. (Met Museum)

The piece called "Thérèse Dreaming", was painted in 1938 by noted Polish-French modern artist, Balthus. The MET has, however, refused to remove the painting, as reported by the New York Times

Merrill started the petition saying, "Balthus had a noted infatuation with pubescent girls and this painting is undeniably romanticizing the sexualization of a child."

A portrait of Balthus by Damian Pettigrew (Wikipedia)

"Given the current climate around sexual assault … The Met is romanticizing voyeurism and the objectification of children," she wrote on the petition page. "They are a renowned institution and one of the largest, most respected art museums in the United States. I am simply asking The Met to more carefully vet the art on its walls, and understand what this painting insinuates," she added.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

"Ultimately, it's a small ask in consideration of how expansive their art collection is … how overtly sexual the painting is, and the current news headlines highlighting a macro issue about the public health and safety of women," it reads. 

A woman looking at the painting in question. (Twitter)

The petition, which started on December 1, has reached 8,507 supporters so far of its goal of 9,000. A representative of the museum said that the museum will not be taking the painting down as art is supposed to reflect different time periods and not just the current one.

Kenneth Wein, a spokesperson for MET said, "[Our] mission is to collect, study, conserve, and present significant works of art across all times and cultures in order to connect people to creativity, knowledge, and ideas."

"Moments such as this provide an opportunity for conversation, and visual art is one of the most significant means we have for reflecting on both the past and the present," he continued.

One of the paintings from the exhibition in 2013 (Met Museum)

In 2013, the MET held an exhibition of Balthus paintings entitled "Cats and Girls - Paintings and Provocations". 

The artist died in 2001 and had Bono from U2 singing at his funeral. The then-President of France, Jacques Chirac, and supermodel Elle Macpherson were among the many celebrities who attended his funeral. 

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