Italian police have identified a 50-year-old Austrian who broke three toes from a statue in a museum while posing for a photo with the artwork.
The 200-year-old plaster model of Paolina Bonaparte’s statue of Antonio Canova was damaged in the July 31 incident at the Gipsoteca Museum in Possagno, northern Italy, Treviso Carabinieri told CNN. local law enforcement agency.
The man, whose name has not yet been released, was caught on a surveillance camera jumping on the base of the statue for a photo when the maneuver accidentally slammed his toes.
The damaged statue is the original plaster model from which Canova sculpted a marble statue which is in the Borghese Gallery in Rome.
Canova was a revered sculptor who lived from 1757 to 1822 and was famous for his marble statues.
Police told CNN the man was with a group of eight Austrian tourists and escaped to take a selfie of himself “lying on the statue.”
In doing so, he broke three toes on the statue’s right foot and “there could be other damage to the base of the sculpture that museum experts have yet to verify,” investigators said.
Vittorio Sgarbi, President of the Antonio Canova Foundation, wrote in a Facebook post that he had asked the police for “clarity and thoroughness”. He wrote that the man must not “go unpunished and return to his native land. The healing of a Canova is unacceptable ”.
The measures against the coronavirus mean that all visitors to the museum must leave their personal information for possible contact tracing in the event that an outbreak is linked to a visit to the museum. This is how the man was identified.
When police contacted a woman who had registered on behalf of herself and her husband, she burst into tears and admitted her husband was the toe breaker, according to a press release from Treviso Carabinieri .
The husband, who was also upset, later confessed and repented for the “stupid gesture,” the statement said.
A court in Treviso is currently deciding to file a complaint.
This is not the first time that a valuable work of art has been damaged in an attempt to achieve a memorable image.
In October 2018, a woman damaged two works of art, by Francisco Goya and Salvador Dali, after knocking them over while trying to take a selfie at a gallery in Yekaterinburg, Russia.