Unvirtuous Virtus in Virginia?

Image by themaxsons via Flickr

The incipit of a piece from the Pilot:

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli apparently isn’t fond of wardrobe malfunctions, even when Virginia’s state seal is involved.

The seal depicts the Roman goddess Virtus, or virtue, wearing a blue tunic draped over one shoulder, her left breast exposed. But on the new lapel pins Cuccinelli recently handed out to his staff, Virtus’ bosom is covered by an armored breastplate.

When the new design came up at a staff meeting, workers in attendance said Cuccinelli joked that it converts a risqué image into a PG one.

The joke might be on him, said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato.

“When you ask to be ridiculed, it usually happens. And it will happen here, nationally,” he said. “This is classical art, for goodness’ sake.”

via Cuccinelli opts for more modest state seal | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com.

… I seem to recall a similar ‘revesting’ of some divinity on some state or city seal or crest a while ago, but can’t seem to retrieve it from memory or search engine … personally, I find it rather more interesting that Virtus might be depicted as an Amazonish figure, trampling the tyrant ‘semper sicced’ — the Wikipedia page on the seal (which features some other Roman divinities on the reverse) is one of those ones which has a ‘not appropriate tone’ warning, but it’s an interesting description of all that’s going on in the seal. Whatever the case, the Pilot article has a picture of the  ‘more modest’ Virtus depiction.

UPDATE (a few days later): Cucinelli backed down on his proposal:

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