On 23 August 2015 a 12-year-old boy had a nightmare visit to the exhibition “Face of Leonardo: Images of a Genius” in Taipei, Taiwan, when he tripped and punched a hole in a 17th century painting. The oil painting by the Italian artist Paolo Porpora was entitled Flowers and was valued at $1.5 million.
In footage which was released by the museum, the boy is seen holding a drink in his right hand as he wanders around the exhibition. Not seeing a protection rope, he trips and attempts to use the wall to regain his balance, only to come to the horrifying realisation that he has in fact used one of the exhibits. Sun Chi-hsuan, the curator of the exhibition, confirmed that the boy’s family would not have to pay for the damages, stating that the painting was insured. “The painting’s bottom right is damaged. The boy’s hand made contact with the artwork and left a hole the size of a fist,” Sun commented.
This is not the first time artworks have been accidentally damaged by the public. In 2006 a man knocked over three 18th century Chinese Vases in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and in 2006 the casino magnate Steve Wynn elbowed his way through a Picasso, which he still managed to sell for $155 million at auction in 2013.