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Firearms company apologizes for gun-toting 'David' ad

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Armalite's CEO expressed regret for an ad featuring Michelangelo's "David" holding the company's AR-50A1 rifle. (Source: Twitter) Armalite's CEO expressed regret for an ad featuring Michelangelo's "David" holding the company's AR-50A1 rifle. (Source: Twitter)
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(RNN) – Illinois-based arms company Armalite apologized Monday after its appropriation of world-famous art ignited the ire of Italians.

A tweet in May 2013 showed Michelangelo's David wielding an AR-50A1 rifle as part of the company's A Work of Art ad campaign.

It has sparked international outrage 10 months after it was tweeted, with Italy's culture minister, Dario Franceschini, taking issue with the usage via Twitter.

Franceschini threatened to take action against the company, according to the Guardian, and Italians made their feelings known on the company's Facebook page.

Cristina Acidini, the superintendent of the State Museums of Florence, claimed the image of David is copyrighted to Italy, according to CNN.

In a statement posted on Ammoland, the company expressed regret for any offense the ad caused and said the company ownership has changed since the advertisement was posted.

Mark Johnson, the company's chief executive officer, said on Ammoland he considered the ad "in poor taste."

Michelangelo completed the marble masterpiece David in 1504, and it is considered one of his most famous works. It depicts the future hero and future king at a pivotal moment, clutching the stone and with a sling over his shoulder as he contemplates his upcoming battle against the larger Goliath.

The original can be seen in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, according to the Michelangelo Gallery online, and copies abound throughout the world.

For a closer look at the work of art, visit Stanford University's Digital Michelangelo Project, which, unlike the ad, includes the statue's full-frontal nudity.

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