Boy trips at museum, accidentally punches hole in $1.5m painting

A 12-year-old Taiwanese boy lived out a slapstick nightmare at the weekend, when he tripped at a museum and broke his fall with a painting, smashing a hole in 350-year-old painting by Paolo Porpoura, worth Rs 10 crore

Taipei: Every curator's worst fear came true on Sunday, when a visitor stumbled and accidentally punched a hole in one of the paintings at a museum in Taiwan. The painting that was accidentally damaged by a clumsy boy is a centuries-old $1.5 million (approximately Rs 10 crore) oil painting by Italian artist Paolo Porpoura.

Fool and the fall! A CCTV footage shows the boy trip over a platform in front of the artwork and then brace himself against the painting to break his fall. PIc/Youtube video grab
Fool and the fall! A CCTV footage shows the boy trip over a platform in front of the artwork and then brace himself against the painting to break his fall. PIc/Youtube video grab

A clumsy tale
A CCTV footage released by the organisers shows the boy on Sunday trip over a platform in front of the artwork and then brace himself against the painting to break his fall. He then looks around helplessly before walking away. ”The child fell and pressed onto the painting, putting a fist-sized tear in it,” an employee at TST Art of Discovery, which organised The Face of Leonardo exhibition in Taipei, said.

Art experts examining the damage on the Paolo Porpoura’s painting Flowers (
Art experts examining the damage on the Paolo Porpoura’s painting Flowers

Art attack
The painting, entitled Flowers by Italian artist Paolo Porpora, dates back to the 1600s and is part of a collection of 55 artworks on show in the country’s capital. Porpora was a leading still life artist who produced baroque-style paintings, often of fruit and flowers. The damaged work, 200 cm tall, depicts flowers in a vase.

Permanant damage
The organisers have decided not to seek damages from the boy's family. The painting was restored on site on Monday and is now back on exhibition. However, the organisers fear the damage is permanent.

A self-portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci worth $231 million (approximately Rs 1500 crore) is also being exhibited at the show, according to the exhibition’s website.

Artist’s only signed work A database of European fine art, said, Flowers was the only Porpora work that is signed.

The organisers of the exhibition have decided to not seek any damage from the boy’s family as the artwork was already insured. pics/facebook page of Face of Leonardo
The organisers of the exhibition have decided to not seek any damage from the boy’s family as the artwork was already insured. pics/facebook page of Face of Leonardo

‘In’famous art accidents
2010:  A woman at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art accidentally fell into The Actor, a 105-year-old painting by Pablo Picasso, causing a six inch tear in the canvas, which is estimated at $130 million (approximately R860 crore)

2006: Casino mogul Steve Wynn agreed to sell a prized painting, Picasso’s 1932 masterpiece Le Rêve. The price was a staggering $139 million (approximately R900 crore). But just two days after the agreement was reached, Wynn, who suffers from an eye disorder, accidentally thrust his right elbow through the canvas, leaving a silver-dollar-size hole in the piece.
2006:  A case of clumsiness led to $800,000 (approximately R5.2 crore) in damage in 2006, when a man tripped over his shoelace at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum in the UK and proceeded to fall down a central staircase, colliding with three 300-year-old Chinese vases and shattering them.

2000: A study by the Sigmund Freud’s was accidentally destroyed in 2000. Porters at a Sotheby’s auction house in London put the picture, estimated to be worth approximately $157,000 (approximately R1 crore), into a crushing machine as they thought the box it came in was empty.

What if?

A self-portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci worth $231 million (approximately Rs 1500 crore) is also being exhibited at the show.

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