Imagine this scenario if your dare. There is a multi-million-dollar art exhibition coming to town, and you want nothing more than to take the kids to see this once-in-a-lifetime-experience. The paintings on display are some of the world’s classics, works from “Di Vinci” and many others will be on display, some for the first time. This is a cultural opportunity that you just cannot miss, and a chance for the kids to see what it was like before the days of computers and electronic gaming machines.
The big day finally comes and you set off with the family to see some of the marvels of the old world. One picture that particular interests you is “Flowers” by Italian “Baroque” artist “Paplo Porpora” who painted this master piece in the 1600’s. Porpora specialized in floral still lives and spent the majority of his life in Naples. Flowers is one of his most famous works and is about 350-years-old.
You arrive at the museum, and all is in readiness for the big day, you are all on your best behavior and are ready for the tour to begin. The tour guide starts to lead you through the various displays when your 12-year-old-son disappears, all be it briefly. The next thing you know you here a commotion and everyone is running pass you in the direction of the one painting you haven’t seen yet. Your son appears and says in a sheepish voice “Dad, I think I’m in trouble”. Then the curator of the museum taps you on the shoulder and asks if you would mind coming to his office for a quite chat.
When the organizers of Taipei’s “The Face of Leonardo: Images of a Genius” opened the doors for the first time, the last thing they had expected was for a 1.5-million-dollar-painting to be damaged. Sadly a 12-year-old school boy visiting the exhibition was so enthralled with the guide’s words that he didn’t see a protective rope and tripped. As this hapless young man tried to break his fall, he inadvertently put his hand on the Porpora painting and put a hole through the canvas.
As you will see in the security footage the student looks in disbelief at what has just happened. You can only imagine what must be going through his mind as he eyes the gaping hole in masterpiece hanging before him. The chances of him damaging this piece, one of 55 on display were mind boggling, but here he was, in the middle if one of the art world biggest stories.
The museum officials have decided not to charge the luckless boy and his family for the repairs to the painting as fortunately the exhibition was insured, but they were thinking of asking him back as a volunteer as a means of penalty to maybe show the world how precious the gift of art is.