6 People Who Accidentally Destroyed Priceless Works of Art
One thing that can bridge both culture and language is a beautiful work of art. Who doesn’t appreciate the intricate brush strokes of a Monet? Or the fine marbled lines of a Greek statue? Sadly, there are some people in the world who can’t be trusted around nice things. Here are six clumsy individuals who should probably just stay home and avoid museums forever.
This well-intentioned Spanish grandma
“D.I.Y.-ing” is a great way to save money when you’re, say, reupholstering a chair or renovating your kitchen. When it comes to restoring 19th Century frescos, it’s probably a good idea to call in the professionals. That’s what 80-year-old Cecilia Giminez of Borja, Spain should have done when a painting at her local church started showing signs of wear; instead, the well-intentioned parishioner attempted to “fix” the image by painting over it herself, resulting in a hilariously hairy image dubbed “monkey Jesus”.
Art historians where enraged, but the internet was delighted and wasted no time in turning the botched painting into a meme and printing it on everything from t-shirts to keychains.
Everything worked out in the end though; tourism to Borja went through the roof as people flocked to see the disfigured painting, merchandise sales were rewarded to Giminez who in turn donated the proceeds to charity, and we were even blessed with Kate McKinnon’s brilliant Giminez impression on SNL’s Weekend Update.
This bumbling Taiwanese Boy
A 12-year-old Taiwanese boy made parents everywhere cringe when he made international headlines by punching a hole in a $1.5 million painting in 2015.
The boy was walking around the “Face of Leonardo: Images of a Genius” exhibition in Taipei while carrying a drink in his hand when he tripped and fell over a barrier. Reaching out to stop himself, the boy accidentally put his hand through a painting entitled Flowers by Italian Baroque artist Paolo Porpora, a piece that dates back to 1660 and the only known work bearing the artist’s signature.
Luckily for the boy’s family, the painting was insured and they were not asked to pay for damages, although we imagine they were mortified nonetheless. As for the boy, well at least he didn’t spill his drink.
This wealthy but visually impaired casino mogul
Billionaire casino and hotel owner Steve Wynn was entertaining the likes of Nora Ephron and Barbara Walters (as one does) back in 2006 when his guests begged him to show them his prized Picasso one last time. The painting, a 1932 portrait of Picasso’s mistress entitled Le Rêve, had hung in his hotel lobby for nearly a decade without incident and was about to be sold to an acquaintance for a cool $139 million.
Being the gracious host that he is, Wynn obliged and proudly presented the painting to his guests, turning his back to the piece to address them. Unfortunately, Wynn, who suffers from an eye disease that affects his peripheral vision, unknowingly stepped back towards the painting and raised his hand in a gesture. Much to the horror of Wynn and his guests, a tearing sound was heard; Wynn had accidently pierced the canvas with his hand.
The two inch tear was fixable, but the deal was delayed. Wynn took this as a sign that he was meant to keep the painting and the $139 million deal was called off. We hope that Wynn invested in some protective glass so he can continue to admire Le Rêve from a safe distance.