If Paolo Porpora, a famous 17th Century artist ever knew that one of his beloved masterpieces would literally be punched through its canvas by a 12-year-old boy in Taiwan in the year 2015, well let’s just say he probably wouldn’t have placed the future in very high regard. But that’s exactly what happened to Porpora’s piece entitled “Flowers” a couple of days ago in the city of Taipei in Taiwan. A young boy was on a tour with his parents at the Faces of Leonardo: Images of a Genius exhibition in Taipei, when he tripped and broke his fall with a punch through the bottom right side of poor Paolo Porpora’s painting.
Luckily for the little butter-foot, the Taiwanese boy will not face any charges, despite having literally disfigured Porpora’s $1.54 million masterpiece painting. Conveniently, an appraiser happened to be on site and immediately arrived to assess the damage on the painting from the punch. Rather than focusing on repairing the Porpora painting itself, the emphasis will be placed on strengthening the canvas material that Paolo Porpora originally painted on. Word to the wise for any aspiring artists out there, but perhaps it is a better idea to not follow in Paolo Porpora’s footsteps and to paint on something more sturdy than a material canvas – like an iron one, or even a brick wall. That way if someone does punch it, there will be little damage done to the artwork.
Apparently, this isn’t the first time that someone has tripped, punched, or fallen into a painting though. In 2010, something similar occurred when a woman tore part of a Picasso piece entitled “The Actor.” She was attending an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York when she tripped and took part of the art piece down with her. In fact, it happens pretty frequently, according to Josh Elliott from CTV News,
“Six years earlier, casino mogul Steve Wynn accidentally put his elbow through Picasso’s ‘Le Reve, which he owned at the time. And last year, an Irish man was sentenced to five years in prison after he fell into and tore Claude Monet’s ‘Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sail Boat’…”
The issue doesn’t so much seem to be the fact that people are throwing punches at, or ripping these art pieces, but rather that a number of museums worldwide seem to be very dangerous places that result in a lot of falling individuals. Rather than investing more money into art appraisers, it might be a good idea to invest in baby-proofing and punch-proofing the galleries.
The good news is that the Paolo Porpora painting was repaired almost immediately and put back on display right away. Hopefully, if someone falls during the next tour, they at least punch through the same part of the painting to ensure no additional damage is done.
[Image by TST Art of Discovery Co. / YouTube]