A painting of several world leaders shown nude was pulled from a community college faculty exhibit in Anne Arundel County after complaints from the public.

The artist, a part-time faculty member, replaced the life-size painting with a landscape the day before the show opened last month.

The 8-by-8-foot oil painting, entitled "Capitalism is Dead," was meant as a political commentary, said artist Josef Schuetzenhoefer.

Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Polish President Lech Walesa, Polish Cardinal Jozef Glemp, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the late American millionaire Malcolm Forbes were depicted. They were shown standing on a medieval cart with the rear wheels missing, said Schuetzenhoefer.

Anne Arundel Community College administrators inspected the painting after complaints were made when it was hung in the Pascal Center Art Gallery in Arnold, Md., on Jan. 19.

Within hours, the administrators asked that the painting be covered with plastic to avoid offending members of a church group scheduled to use the center that weekend.

It was later removed.

"I'm disappointed about the decision. In the interest of higher learning, I think there's room for dissent," the artist said.

The painting had been placed on the back wall of the gallery, making it visible to people walking in a nearby hall, said Theone Relos, a college spokeswoman.