IT is a common sight on the walls of school toilets throughout the world.
But following the discovery in Spain of 17th century graffiti, it seems the childish phenomenon of hastily-scrawled male genitalia is anything but new.
It came after 15th century frescoes of winged angels with haloes were found hidden behind a false ceiling in Valencia Cathedral.
But it later emerged that the artwork, created by Renaissance master Paolo de San Leocadio, had more recent additions – including a phallic outline etched into a wing and paint splatters on the angels’ eyes and mouths.
The damage was caused by workers charged with covering them up in 1674 after damp had led them to be viewed as worthless.
“The truth is that we have barely advanced over the centuries,” said Carmen Perez, head of Valencia’s conservation institute.
“They are exactly the same as you would find today in public toilets.” The paintings have now been fully restored.