"Flowers," A Paolo Porpora Painting Worth 1.5 Million, Now Features A Fist-Sized Hole After A Kid Tripped & Accidentally Punched It — VIDEO
It may be every museum's worst nightmare, but I assure you, it doesn't feel good to be the perpetrator either. After tripping and losing his balance, a 12-year-old boy punched a hole in a 17th-century Italian painting while visiting an art museum in Taipei, Taiwan, over the weekend. It wasn't your typical "You break it, you buy it" scenario, however, because the painting, by a renowned Italian still life painter, is valued at $1.5 million, an amount that the boy is likely unable to fork over. And while the museum staff is rightfully peeved, the boy will likely lose sleep for a while. Trust me, I would know.
As security footage reveals, the boy was visiting the Face of Leonardo: Images of a Genius exhibition in Taipei when he tripped right behind the cordon and accidentally fell into the painting hand first. Looking panicked and guilty, the boy is then escorted away by museum staff. According to the exhibition's organizer, Sun Chi-hsuan, who spoke to news channel Focus Taiwan, the museum is not demanding the boy or his family to pay for the damages. The painting, which belongs to a private collection, is insured, and therefore, "the organizers will ask the insurance company to cover restoration costs and compensate the owner of the painting."
As for the painting in question, it was created by Italian painter Paolo Porpora roughly 350 years ago and is titled "Flowers." The oil painting, standing at nearly 80 inches tall, featured flowers in a vase, which might not sound all that impressive, but its history and provenance are. Active during the late Baroque era, Porpora was a leading specialist in floral still lifes. According to Web Gallery of Art, Porpora is a documented pupil of Giacomo Recco, the father of Giuseppe Recco, another prominent Italian still life painter. In other words, it's an important piece from a significant period in art history and is worth every penny of its $1.5 million price tag. Or it was.
Sun told reporters:
The painting's bottom right is damaged. The boy's hand made contact with the artwork and left a hole the size of a fist.
It's unclear how the painting will be appraised after restorations, but the damage has been done. And I'm not only talking about the painting. This episode must have been traumatic for the boy, and if he's anything like me, it will inflict him with mental and emotional scarring for years to come.
I was that boy once, with a few notable differences. Instead of 12, I was 23; instead of browsing a museum as a visitor, I was working as a project assistant for a contemporary artist (and therefore should have known better); and instead of a security camera catching my flub, it was The New York Times. My fellow teammates and I were helping the artist complete a painting, whose performance aspect was being documented by the paper for their website, and as it was being completed, I accidentally drove my knee right into the canvas, leaving it with a dent the size of a golf ball. I don't think I could eat or sleep for a week. So, if you happen to read this, fellow accidental painting destroyer, I feel you, kid.
Watch the cringeworthy video below.