Boy stum­bles, leaves hole in valu­able paint­ing

The China Post - - LOCAL -

A Tai­wanese boy on Sun­day punched a hole in an ex­tremely valu­able Paolo Por­pora paint­ing at a Taipei ex­hi­bi­tion af­ter ap­par­ently trip­ping and try­ing to catch his bal­ance on the art­work, ac­cord­ing to the sur­veil­lance tape pro­vided by the or­ga­niz­ers on Mon­day.

The 12-year-old boy may have got­ten lucky, how­ever, be­cause the or­ga­niz­ers will not ask the boy’s fam­ily to pay for the cost of restor­ing the dam­aged paint­ing, dis­played as part of “The Face of Leonardo, Im­ages of a Ge­nius” ex­hi­bi­tion at Huashan 1914 Cre­ative Park.

Ac­cord­ing to Sun Chi-hsuan, the head of ex­hi­bi­tion co-or­ga­nizer TST Art of Dis­cov­ery Co., the 200-cen­time­ter tall paint­ing is around 350 years old and val­ued at over NT$50 mil­lion (US$1.5 mil­lion).

In the sur­veil­lance tape, the 12-year-old was seen trip­ping over a rope bar­rier post while walk­ing near the 17th cen­tury oil paint­ing “Flow­ers.”

As he stum­bled to­ward the paint­ing, he ex­tended his arms to keep from fall­ing, mak­ing con­tact with the art­work and leav­ing a hole the size of a fist.

An­drea Rossi, cu­ra­tor of the ex­hi­bi­tion, was shocked af­ter learn­ing about the in­ci­dent on Sun­day, Sun said, adding that Rossi will dis­cuss restor­ing the paint­ing in Tai­wan with a Tai­wanese art re­storer on Mon­day be­fore ship­ping it back to Italy.

Sun said the boy was vis­it­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion with his mother and was prob­a­bly not aware of his sur­round­ings be­cause he was fo­cused on the guided tour.

Ac­cord­ing to Sun, the boy was very ner­vous, but Rossi asked that the boy not be blamed and that the fam­ily not be asked to pay for the cost of the restora­tion.

Sun said the or­ga­niz­ers will ask the in­sur­ance com­pany to cover restora­tion costs and com­pen­sate the owner of the paint­ing.

It is the first time that a valu­able paint­ing on loan in Tai­wan has suf­fered such ma­jor dam­age.

“The Face of Leonardo, Im­ages of a Ge­nius” ex­hi­bi­tion is dis­play­ing over 50 au­then­tic paint­ings by prom­i­nent artists from the Ital­ian Re­nais­sance pe­riod to the 20th cen­tury, or­ga­niz­ers said.

The ex­hi­bi­tion was tem­po­rar­ily closed on Mon­day morn­ing, be­fore re­open­ing in the af­ter­noon. “All 55 paint­ings in the venue are au­then­tic pieces and they are very rare and pre­cious. Once these works are dam­aged, they are per­ma­nently dam­aged ... we hope that ev­ery­one can pro­tect these pre­cious art­works with us,” TST Art of Dis­cov­ery said in a post on the ex­hi­bi­tion’s of­fi­cial Face­book page.

Sun said an 80 cen­time­ter dis­tance was main­tained be­tween each paint­ing and visi­tors so that visi­tors would not get too close to the art­work.

When the in­ci­dent oc­curred, there were around 200 to 300 visi­tors in the venue, within the al­lowed limit, he said.


1. A hole punched through the can­vas of a Paolo Por­pora paint­ing is shown in this photo taken yesterday. A 12-year-old boy punched a hole through the paint­ing af­ter ac­ci­den­tally ap­ply­ing pres­sure to the can­vas as he at­tempted to re­gain his bal­ance af­ter trip­ping over. 2. Tai­wanese art re­storer Leo Tsai ( ) is seen hold­ing Paolo Por­pora’s 17th cen­tury oil paint­ing “Flow­ers,” as he ex­plains the dam­ages in­flicted on the paint­ing in this photo taken yesterday. The dam­aged paint­ing was orig­i­nally dis­played at “The Face of Leonardo, Im­ages of a Ge­nius” ex­hi­bi­tion at Huashan 1914 Cre­ative Park. 3. Sur­veil­lance footage shows a 12-year-old boy ac­ci­den­tally punch­ing a hole through the price­less paint­ing in this photo pro­vided by the ex­hibit’s or­ga­niz­ers. The dam­aged Paolo Por­pora paint­ing, val­ued at ap­prox­i­mately NT$50 mil­lion, was dis­played as part of a Taipei ex­hi­bi­tion. This is the na­tion’s first case of a dam­aged paint­ing that was bor­rowed from abroad.

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