The plinths of two marble sculptures displayed in the Grand Trianon park at Versailles have been attacked and severely damaged by a suspected “malicious act,” AFP reports. The attack on the works was discovered by Versailles staff last Wednesday. The two works of art, which date from the late 17th century to early 18th century, were protected against frost with covers making it unclear as to when the act of vandalism took place.
While the sculptures themselves are thought to be unharmed, they have been sent to Versailles’ conservation department for further inspection. Both the works are by an unknown sculptor, and represent the ancient king Mithridates and an allegory of Europe.
A police spokesperson told AFP that such incidents were a rare occurrence in Versailles. The local police will lead an investigation into the incident. The Versailles domain, which includes the palace, the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon, as well as the gardens, welcomes over 10 million visitors every year, with 7.5 million of these visiting the palace.
The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682 until 1789, when Louis XIV moved there from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the ‘Ancien Régime’.
The London-based artist Anish Kapoor will follow in the footsteps of Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami with a new exhibition of work due to open next year at the Palace. The director of the 17th-century château, Catherine Pégard, told The International New York Times that the show will open in June 2015 and run until October of the same year.