As the image of one the greatest mathematicians of all time, a statue of Archimedes might be expected to inspire logic and reason.
However, one such sculpture is provoking a rather more passionate response in a Hampshire village, as residents claim that being able to see a naked Greek physicist from the road is in bad taste and could even cause an accident.
The row is dividing Ellisfield, near Basingstoke. One resident has demanded that Adrian de Ferranti, the son of a late Tory MP, remove the nine foot statue but others argue that it is art and people should be "inspired" by it.
Mr de Ferranti, who runs his own venture capital firm, has now applied for retrospective planning permission and is waiting to learn the fate of Archimedes.
The statue had belonged his father, Basil, the Tory MP and former Vice President of the European Parliament who was the MEP for the area until his death in 1988.
But when he adopted it and put it in on the corner of his land near the road, his neighbour Steven Gould was so incensed that he tipped off the council. He claims that the statue, which is illuminated at night, could not only cause offence but distract those travelling past it.
In a strongly worded letter to Basingstoke Council, Mr Gould said: "In my opinion and although some may consider the statue to be ‘art’ it is totally out of character and not in keeping with its current surroundings.
“This statue is illuminated at night and as such is both a potential distraction for drivers of vehicles driving down College Lane and again completely inappropriate in a rural area in my opinion.
“The very nature of the statue (a naked man) may seem to represent art to some but could also be seen as offensive to others.
“I do not wish to deprive the owner of the pleasure of enjoying something he obviously appreciates but feel that this would be far more appropriate if it were located within the grounds of (his house) where it would also be screened from the road and potential view of those who may take offence.
“As a resident of College Lane and someone who has walked up and down that lane on a reasonably regular basis over the last 54 years I hope you will be able to appreciate my point of view.”
Tim Guinness, Ellisfield Paris Council chairman, said: “We are aware of the objection. We will be reacting to it. We have to discuss it. But people should be inspired by it.”
Mr de Ferranti, whose great grandfather was the electrical engineer and inventor Sebastian de Ferranti, is understood to be overseas.
His wife Christian, who runs a small art school from their eight-bedroom home, suggested that the row over Archimedes has been blown out of proportion.
She said: “You need glasses to see it. It belonged to his father. You can walk down the road and see it but you cannot see much.”
Archimedes, the Ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer and inventor is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of all time.
He is often credited with coining the term Eureka when he discovered the physical law of buoyancy as he stepped naked into the bath. The Archimedes principle states that when an object is immersed in fluid it loses weight equal to the amount of liquid it displaces.