France's first lady to go naked
A nude portrait of the French first lady, Carla Bruni, is to go up for auction at Christie's next month.
The photograph was taken more than a decade ago when the now wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy was working as a model.
The gelatin silver print by photographer Michel Comte depicts Bruni in a standing pose, apparently in reference to the paintings of French neo-impressionist artist Georges Seurat.
Christie's has defended its decision to put on sale a nude image of a serving first lady, describing Ms Bruni as 'one of the most beautiful women in the world' and the picture as a work of art.
'It's a tasteful nude portrait executed by a well known, respectable artist,' a spokeswoman said.
'Christie's stands by the works it represents to its clients. It doesn't censor or pass judgement on any content or subject matter. It's a perfectly respectable work of art,' she added.
The 1993 photograph comes from a collection that includes works by Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Richard Avedon and Leni Riefenstahl featuring, among other images, nudes of British models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.
The Bruni portrait is expected to fetch up to $4,000 when it goes under the hammer on 10 April.
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Nottingham, United Kingdom