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|Silvio Berlusconi and Moroccan Teenage Lover Ruby on Auction at Milan Art Dealer|
A man looks at a painting called "Silvio & Ruby" made with plastic bags and scotch tape by Israeli artist Dodi Reifenberg at the Edward Cutler gallery in Milan April 6, 2011. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's trial on charges of paying for sex with underaged prostitute Karima El Mahroug, also known as Ruby "Rubacuori", and later trying to cover it up opened on Wednesday and was immediately adjourned until May 31. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo.
MILAN (REUTERS).- A smiling close-up of Silvio Berlusconi and Moroccan teenager Karima El Mahroug together would have been a priceless picture for photographers attending the Italian prime minister's trial on underage prostitution charges.
Prosecutors accuse the 74-year-old Berlusconi of paying for sex with El Mahroug when she was under the legal age limit of 18 and the trial, which opened in Milan on Wednesday, has caused a global media sensation.
But Israeli-born artist Dodi Reifenberg said the couple has inspired him to create a more regal image to depict the young dancer and the aging Italian politician.
"When I started working, I had a clear objective. I wanted people to think they were just looking at a beautiful couple, like Prince William & Kate Middleton, portrayed in their life together," Reifenberg, 50, said in a statement.
The Berlin-based environmental artist used plastic bags and scotch tape to create his "Silvio & Ruby" portrait, which was unveiled on Wednesday at the Edward Cutler Gallery in Milan.
"I follow the news and I feel like a neutral viewer... but I consider this painting a work of art," said Cutler, whose art dealership has branches in London and Zurich.
The work is up for auction until May 6.
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