A 400-year-old painting of a shirtless Jesus by Flemish master Rubens has been removed from Facebook as it “featured nudity”.
The piece titled “Descent from the Cross” was among several artworks uploaded to the site by the Flemish Tourist Board.
The painting reportedly appeared in a Facebook ad campaign – along with other works by Flemish artists such as Jan van Eyck and Pieter Bruegel – promoting the Belgian region of Flanders.
Its removal was met with anger from the Flemish tourism bureau, which slammed Facebook’s controversial censorship policy in a letter addressed to the firm’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“Breasts, buttocks and Peter Paul Rubens’ cherubs are all considered indecent. Not by us, but by you,” reads the note. “Even though we secretly have to laugh about it, your cultural censorship is making life rather difficult for us.”
It also lampooned Facebook’s muddled ban in a new video that sees men in “social media inspector” uniforms escorting visitors with social media accounts away from nudes at the Rubens House museum in Antwerp.
Facebook’s strict Community Standards have a dedicated section on adult nudity and sexual activity where it argues that its policies are now “more nuanced” than in the past.