NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is refusing to remove a 1938 painting by the artist known as Balthus that depicts a young girl in what some are saying is a sexually suggestive pose.
The painting , entitled “Therese Dreaming,” shows the girl leaning back with her underwear visible. The late Polish-French artist is known for his erotically-charged images of pubescent girls.
An online petition that has garnered thousands of signatures on Monday urged the museum to rethink its decision to display the painting in light of today’s climate around sexual assault.
The petition’s author, Mia Merrill, accuses the Met of “romanticizing voyeurism and the objectification of children.”
Museum spokesman Ken Weine says visual art provides an opportunity for conversation “through informed discussion and respect for creative expression.”