February 19, 1997 in Nation/World

Kidnapped Artist: I Had To Paint Nude Woman

Compiled From Wire Services

A Mexican artist seized at gunpoint off the street says his kidnappers forced him to paint a nude portrait of a wealthy woman.

Witnesses saw armed men seize Niceforo Urbieta off a street in Oaxaca on Feb. 11. He wasn’t heard from for four days.

Relatives feared Urbieta had been kidnapped for political reasons. His case won attention in newspapers.

But in an interview Tuesday, Urbieta said his captors were interested in his art, not his politics.

He said he was driven to a “run of the mill” room. “This is a whim,” Urbieta quoted the kidnappers as telling him. “There is a very rich lady who likes your painting a lot … and she wants you to paint her.”

Urbieta said he was given paintbrushes and forced to look through a hole in the wall at the model, who would pose nude for about an hour at a time.

“Like a voyeur I had to look at her through that hole and paint her.”

He described her as a young woman with long black hair “and a very well-formed body.”

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