A rather unfortunate accident occurred when a 12-year-old boy visited Taipei’s Huashan 1914 Creative Park last Sunday. The boy tripped and inadvertently punched a hole in a Paolo Porpora painting valued at $1.5 million, or £950,000 as he was trying to keep his balance. The boy was with a guided tour group visiting the exhibition “The Face of Leonardo, Images of a Genius,” which gathers 55 paintings by key artists starting from the Italian Renaissance and going up to the 20th century – Focus Taiwan reports.
The alarming series of events was captured by CCTV and the footage first shows the teenager, who is carrying a soft drink, while admiring the Baroque masterpiece – possibly not the best of combinations – then, the group moves towards the next painting in the display, the boy looks back to something or someone off camera, he then loses his balance as he bumps against the stanchion meant to protect the painting and hits the work of art as he falls, smashing his cup against it.
The stunned child is aware of the damage and appears visibly shocked as an adult seeks out a museum official to assess the damage. The impact resulted in a fist-sized hole in Porpora’s Flowers. However, Andrea Rossi, curator of the exhibition, has declared that they won’t ask the family of the boy to pay for the restoration and that the painting is insured.
The museum was temporarily closed on Monday but has since re-opened; Rossi has discussed the restoration process with a Taiwanese art restorer but is also considering shipping the 350-year-old masterpiece back to Italy so it can be restored there.
“All 55 paintings in the venue are authentic pieces and they are very rare and precious,” TST Art of Discovery, the co-organiser of the exhibition, posted on the exhibition’s official Facebook page. “Once these works are damaged, they are permanently damaged … We hope that everyone can protect these precious artworks with us.”
Photo: via YouTube