A Taiwanese 12 year-old learned to watch his step in embarrassing fashion over the weekend after he tripped, fell, and punched a hole “the size of a fist” through a 17th-century painting while trying to brace himself.
The boy was part of a tour group that was going through an exhibition in Taipei of artwork created or influenced by Italian master Leonardo da Vinci, organizer David Sun told Reuters.
“It was such an unusual accident,” Sun said. “The boy was listening to the guide and wasn’t looking where he was going, and tripped and smashed a hole in the artwork.”
The artwork in question was “Flowers”, an oil-on-canvas work by Italian artist Paolo Porpora valued at $1.5 million.
Security footage released by the exhibit organizers do not make clear what the boy tripped over. Nor was it immediately clear why the boy was allowed to carry a can of soda so close to the artwork.
Curator Andrea Rossi told the Daily Telegraph that the boy seemed “nervous” and asked that he not be blamed for the accident. Sun said the boy and his family expressed regret, and would not be asked to pay restoration costs.
“We had an Italian appraiser on hand and immediately contacted the collector,” Sun said. “We decided to repair the painting immediately on site and it’s back on display already.” The Focus Taiwan news agency reported that the painting, which belongs to a private collector and is insured, would be shipped back to Italy for further restoration this week.