"Passionate" kiss lands art lover in court

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - A self-professed art lover stood trial on Tuesday accused of damaging a $2-million painting by kissing it while wearing red lipstick.

The deputy prosecutor in the southern French city of Avignon accused the defendant, Sam Rindy, of "savagery" for having left a lipstick smear on the work by U.S. artist Cy Twombly, and demanded the court fine her 4,500 euros ($6,320).

The picture's owner, Yvon Lambert, wants $2 million in damages and a further 33,400 euros that he says is needed to pay for the restoration work.

Rindy, an artist of Cambodian origin, has said she was "overcome with passion" when she saw the painting hanging on a gallery wall in July 2007. "This woman is profoundly upset. She was overcome by an emotion that she could not tame," her lawyers, Patrick Gontard Jean-Michel Ambrosino, told the court, describing the kiss as an "act of love."

Lambert's lawyer rejected this line of defense, saying: "In love, there need to be two consenting people."

Rindy, who is in her 30s, told reporters earlier this year that she thought her lipstick had improved the white, untitled painting.

The court will deliver its verdict on November 16.

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