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X-Rated Painting Of The Virgin Mary Is Causing A Stir

WARNING: EXPLICIT IMAGE

Griffith University Art Museum is in hot water over an inclusion in its new exhibition.

The artwork 'Holy Family', by Chilean-Australian artist Juan Davila, has been slammed by politicians and religious groups because of its X-rated image.

Davila's artwork is based on the Michelangelo's statue The Pieta, which depicts the Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus after his Crucifixion.

The 'La Pieta' is seen at St. Peter's Basilica. Photo: Getty

However, Davila's interpretation is much cruder, showing Mary holding a giant penis.

The 1985 artwork, which is owned by a Brisbane couple, has been lent to the Griffith University Art Gallery as part of its The Abyss exhibition.

According to the art gallery, the exhibition is intended to "elicit simultaneous experiences of pleasure and disgust".

"Legacies of boundary-challenging artists are resonant in the context of the 21st century, and this exhibition showcases the ways in which diverse Australian artists have developed strategies to contend with a world shaped by capitalist structures," it said.

Juan Davila, Holy Family, 1985 Oil on canvas.

Scroll down for the uncensored image.

The inclusion of the piece has not gone down well with politicians, with QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk claiming her staff refused to show her the painting because it was too "obscene".

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The Australian Christian Lobby has also slammed the painting, saying Griffith had a moral obligation to the community because it was a publicly-funded institution.

"No one denies that we all have different views of what is acceptable or not in art," said Wendy Francis, the ACL QLD Director.

"It can be explicit and challenging, but an image such as this, which humiliates and defiles one of the most famous women in history, does not belong in a public university."

Griffith University Art Museum. Photo: Griffith University

Davila's work often addresses Australian history and politics. In 2002 his Woomera exhibition depicted a desert immigration detention centre.

His artworks have been displayed around the world, including New York's Museum of Modern Art, Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art , National Gallery of Victoria and the  Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo in Spain.

Juan Davila, Holy Family, 1985 Oil on canvas.