French court fines artist for naked stunt at Lourdes

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French court fines artist for naked stunt at Lourdes
In this file photo museum-goers were enjoying an exhibition entitled "Splendour and Misery: Images of Prostitution 1850-1910" when Luxembourg artist Deborah de Robertis got undressed and took on the pose of the famed Olympia.

TARBES (AFP).- A French court imposed a hefty fine Thursday on a performance artist who appeared naked in front of pious pilgrims at France's Lourdes Roman Catholic shrine in August 2018.

Deborah de Robertis, who has dual French and Luxembourg nationality, was ordered to pay 2,000 euros ($2,370) -- half of it suspended -- for baring all to faithful gathered at the sanctuary where Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared.

In a political statement, the artist posed in front of a pyramid of candles and beneath a statue of Mary wearing only a blue veil covering her hair, her hands joined in mock prayer.

Security guards hastily covered her with a shawl and carried her away.

The sanctuary in southwest France pressed charges and condemned an "act of exhibitionism that shocked the pilgrims present".

"The judicial consequences (of the fine) are important, it is important that we debate, that we raise these questions which are political," the 36-year-old artist told AFP on Thursday.

"From a feminist point of view, liberation goes through the body. It is normal that women use their bodies as a means of expression..." she added.

Her lawyer Marie Dose, said they would appeal the fine.

Robertis has performed similar stunts before but has never been convicted.

In April 2017, she spread her bare legs in front of the Mona Lisa in Paris.

And she was arrested in January 2016 for indecent exposure after lying down naked in the Orsay Museum in front of Edouard Manet's nude painting of the prostitute Olympia.

© Agence France-Presse

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