Rome, July 27 (ANI): Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been criticized after he broke a strict "no photographs" rule by posing with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in front of Leonardo Da Vinci's 15th Century masterpiece "The Last Supper".
Berlusconi posed while the cameras flashed, despite prominent signs prohibiting flash photography.
Medvedev, according to The Telegraph, is in Italy on holiday. He visited the Last Supper at the Santa Maria della Grazie museum while on a tour of Milan with Berlusconi.
Tourists who had booked a slot to view the work - which has a waiting list of three months - were held back to allow the politicians through.
Professor Ulberico Santa Maria, who works at the scientific department of the Vatican Museums, said: "There is no way I would have allowed flash photography in front of the Last Supper. Flash photography is not recommended at all for works of art because of the intense damage that can be caused."
"The fact that the Last Supper is a mural painting and not a fresco makes it all the more fragile to something like flash photography, because of the organic material in the paint. This pigment is sensitive to flash photography and that's why we do not allow it," he added.
But Alberto Artioli, superintendent of works in the Italian city, dismissed concerns, saying the photo session had been short, and had come at the request of the Russian president. (ANI)