Books & Art

A Selfie-Taking Museum Visitor Just Damaged a Priceless 19th-Century Sculpture

Yet another selfie-related art disaster.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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The biggest threat to centuries-old artwork these days? Not mold, not cracks, and not even fires. In fact, its a more familiar and normally harmless culprit called selfies.

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On July 31, a man, who visiting the Museo Antonio Canova in Possagno, Italy, did just that. According to a play-by-play by the museum, the tourist sat on Antonio Canova's sculpture of Paolina Bonaparte and caused two toes to break off during the act.

To make matters worse, the man in question just shrugged it off and made a swift escape. The guard in the room discovered the damage minutes later and immediately rang the alarm. Unluckily for the man, he was identified as museum-goers were required to leave their personal information for coronavirus-related contact tracing.

"We reiterate that our heritage must be protected: adopting responsible behavior within the Museum while respecting the works and goods preserved in it is not only a civic duty, but a sign of respect for what our history and culture testifies and that must be proudly handed down to future generations," the museum said in a statement.

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Watch the whole disaster unfold in the video below.

It's not the first time a priceless work of art was damaged by the act of taking a selfie. In 2018, a woman knocked over two artworks by Francisco Goya and Salvador Dali at a gallery in Russia. Meanwhile, restoration fails are a lot more common. Just check out this horrible attempt back in June. Yup, that's this year, too.

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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