Naked images of the Greek god Apollo have graced buildings and paintings for centuries but his disrobed body has so shocked one Russian legislator that he wants to change the country’s 100 rouble (R31) banknote.

The note depicts a statue of Apollo riding a four-horse chariot atop the Bolshoi Theatre, one of Russia’s main cultural symbols.

“You can see clearly that Apollo is naked, you can see his genitalia,” Roman Khudyakov, a member of parliament for the nationalist LDPR party, told Reuters Television.

“I submitted a parliamentary request and forwarded it directly to the head of the central bank asking for the banknote to be brought into line with the law protecting children and to remove this Apollo.”

He said he had been stirred into action when he saw two children looking at the banknote: “The girl screamed at the boy: ‘Can you see that? I told you, there is a penis here!’. I was shocked, you know.”

The call coincides with growing conservatism in President Vladimir Putin’s third term, during which he has courted the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Bolshoi itself made headlines by covering the genitalia of the huge Apollo statue with a fig leaf when it reopened in 2011.

The central bank had no immediate comment. – Reuters