Boy, 12, trips and punches hole in $2.1m painting at Taiwan show

A video screengrab shows the boy accidentally punching a hole in a centuries-old oil painting by Italian artist Paolo Porpora, after he tripped at an exhibition in Taiwan. The painting has been restored and put back on show.
A video screengrab shows the boy accidentally punching a hole in a centuries-old oil painting by Italian artist Paolo Porpora, after he tripped at an exhibition in Taiwan.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

TAIPEI • A 12-year-old boy accidentally punched a hole through a US$1.5 million (S$2.1 million) centuries-old Italian oil painting when he tripped and fell onto the piece during an exhibition in Taiwan.

The painting, entitled Flowers by Italian artist Paolo Porpora, dates back to the 1600s and is part of a collection of 55 artworks currently on show in Taipei city.

Video footage released by the organisers shows the boy on Sunday tripping over a platform in front of the artwork and then bracing himself against the painting to break his fall.

He then looks around helplessly before walking away.

"The child fell and pressed onto the painting, putting a fist-size tear in it," an employee at TST Art of Discovery, which organised The Face Of Leonardo exhibition in Taipei, said.

The organisers have decided not to seek damages from the boy's family, according to a report from China News Agency.

The painting was restored on site on Monday and is now back on exhibition. A self-portrait by Leonardo da Vinci worth €200 million (S$330 million) is also being exhibited at the show, according to the exhibition's website.

Other museum accidents include a 2006 incident, in which a British man smashed a set of 300-year-old Chinese vases after tripping over his shoelaces at a museum in Cambridge in England.

Las Vegas gaming tycoon Steve Wynn that same year accidentally poked his elbow through the canvas of a Picasso painting he had just sold for US$139 million.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'Boy, 12, trips and punches hole in $2.1m painting at Taiwan show'. Print Edition | Subscribe