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Painting raises questions in Hungary

BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 12 (UPI) -- The restoration of a fresco likely painted by Italian renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli needs political support to continue in Hungary's Esztergom castle.

Minister of Culture Istvan Hiller said in an announcement on public television the fresco's attribution to Botticelli depends on professional debates, The Hungarian News Agency MTI reported Tuesday.

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He declined to comment on reports several experts have voiced doubts about the paintings authenticity.

Art expert Zsuzsanna Wierdl said the lines and characteristics of the piece are similar to those of Botticelli's "Birth Of Venus" painting, which is dated around 20 years after the Hungarian fresco.

He said restoration work will most likely continue for two more years, adding that debates and opposing opinions were quite natural for a piece in this situation.

The picture depicts temperance, one of the four virtues, and was found on the wall of Archbishop of Esztergom John Vitez.

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