From ancient Roman statues depicting muscular warriors to oil paintings featuring languorous, half-clothed courtesans, they are some of the finest examples of Western art, united by their generous displays of flesh.

But an initiative by Pornhub to bring to life, with the help of porn stars, a collection of celebrated artworks has provoked the ire of museums around the world.

The paintings – which have been given a new, explicit lease of life by a pair of amateur pornographic actors who call themselves My Sweet Apple – are held by The National Gallery in London, the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Uffizi Galleries in France, the Prado in Madrid and The Met in New York.

Pornhub has created an online presentation called Classic Nudes in which the paintings are discussed in audio commentary by Asa Akira, an American porn actress and the channel’s “brand ambassador”.

The presentation, launched last week, is introduced by La Cicciolina, a Hungarian-Italian former porn star and politician who was once married to the artist Jeff Koons.

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli was brought to life by former porn star La Cicciolina

Credit: Getty

“Some people think of museums as boring, stuffy or dull. But what if we told you they housed a collection of priceless porn? Porn may not be considered art, but some art can definitely be considered porn.

“From orgies to outdoor, and even a little bit of nipple play, prepare to savour every stroke of these surprising masterpieces,” the website promises.

One of the paintings featured, Gabrielle d’Estrees and One of Her Sisters, is described as a “medieval titty-twister”.

Leonidas at Thermopylae, painted by Jacques-Louis David in 1812, is hailed as “a beefy blockbuster”.

The once-scandalous Origin of the World, painted by Gustave Courbet in 1866, is brought startlingly to life with a video clip depicting real-life oral sex.

The Venus of Urbino by Titian, painted in 1538 and held in the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, is also featured in the presentation

Credit: Getty

Other paintings that are featured include The Venus of Urbino by Titian, The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli and Bacchus by Caravaggio, all held by the Uffizi Galleries in Florence.

“The use of all this content is totally illegal and has been done without permission,” a spokesman for the Uffizi told The Telegraph.

“If anyone wants to use this material, they must make a formal request. If the request is granted, then they have to pay. None of this procedure was followed. Our lawyers are drafting a cease and desist order to be sent to Pornhub. This material should be taken down immediately.”

The Louvre in Paris was also reportedly considering legal action against the porn giant. The museum has not yet responded to a request for comment.

An art historian at the museum told The Telegraph: “In general with this type of stunt the Louvre doesn’t like to give free publicity.”

Several paintings held by the National Gallery form part of the interactive guide, including Venus and Adonis by Titian, Adam and Eve by Jan Gossaert and A Bather by Renoir.

A spokesperson for National Gallery said its directors were aware of the interactive guide but would not be threatening legal action.

“We haven’t collaborated with Pornhub on this campaign,” she told The Telegraph. “We will not be taking any action that directly or indirectly raises awareness of this project.”

Pornhub was contacted for comment.