While visiting the National Gallery of Ireland in 2012, 49-year-old Andrew Shannon attacked and punched a hole through a painting worth nearly £8 million. The unfortunate work was Monet’s ‘Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat’ – the painting suffered Shannon ramming his fist through the canvas and leaving a hole in the lower left corner – destroying the masterpiece to the horror of onlooking art-lovers.
Upon ruining the Monet painting and robbing his peers of its beauty – he allegedly shouted at some tourists also visiting the gallery, before being restrained by a security guard, who also found a can of paint stripper on Mr Shannon. After Shannon’s arrest, the vandal told authorities his attack was an attempt to “get back at the state.”
After the attack, authorities raided Mr Shannon’s Dublin home, where police found nearly 50 stolen items, including valuable artworks, books and antiques.
Yet at his trial, however, Shannon seemed to forget his angry attack against the state that destroyed the acclaimed work. Shannon instead claimed that the incident was a mere accident, explaining that he had “felt faint” and had fallen into the work of art – a story that the jury, unsurprisingly, didn’t believe – possibly as it was in direct conflict to witness accounts of what actually took place, not to mention the CCTV footage of Shannon punching a hole through the masterpiece in front of startled witnesses.
After viewing this footage the jury decided his actions were intentional and found him guilty after a mere 90 minutes of deliberation.
After the the thoughtless act of vandalism a court finally sentenced the vandal to five years in prison. After Shannon is finally released, he won’t be allowed inside an art gallery for a further 15 months.