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Nude painting of Canadian PM Stephen Harper goes on display

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Stephen Harper

© Susan Walsh/AP/Press Association Images

A nude painting of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has gone on display.

The oil canvas, titled Emperor Haute Couture, was created by artist Margaret Sutherland and can be viewed at the Kingston, Ontario public library.

It shows the Conservative politician with a dog at his feet, surrounded by headless people in suits, according to AFP.

Parliamentarians have condemned and mocked the painting, even though Harper didn't pose for it.

They referred to it as "a bit tacky," "pretty close to the line," and "aesthetically offensive."

"I don't know if Canadians really needed to see that. I certainly didn't," Nathan Cullen, a member of parliament for the opposition New Democratic Party, said.

Liberal MP Scott Brison added: "I can tell you that this is one case where I think we really do need a conservative cover-up, and I guess you could say in this painting, it's quite obvious that the prime minister has very little to hide."

Sutherland described the painting, which is part of an art competition that runs until the end of the month, as "satire" inspired by Edouard Manet's 1863 work Olympia.

The prime minister's spokesman Andrew MacDougall joked on Twitter: "We're not impressed. Everyone knows the PM is a cat person."

Harper is known to be a huge fan of Coronation Street. He congratulated the cast on their 50th anniversary and recently met with Ken Barlow actor Bill Roache.

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