Tourist's pose goes wrong, breaks 19th century sculpture's toes in Italy and sneaks out of museum
There are times when poses for a photograph are just not right and occasions when the pose goes wrong completely. An Austrian tourist, while posing for a photograph in a museum in Italy, accidentally broke the toes off a 200-year-old statue. CCTV footage later revealed the individual was seated in a reclined position next to the 19th-century "Paolina Borghese as Venus Victrix" sculpture at the Museo Antonio Canova on July 31.
The video shows the tourist posing for a picture, but in the process going on to break the toes of the sculpture, only to later realize the extent of damage he had caused. Having looked down and examined the sculpture, he did not report the incident to the concerned authorities, as per a statement by the museum, which is located in Possagno in northeast Italy.
Soon after, the Museo Antonio Canova shared pictures of the now damaged sculpture in a Facebook post, writing, "Yesterday an Austrian tourist sat on the sculpture of Paolina Borghese causing two toes to break, then hurriedly left the museum, without reporting the fact. A few minutes later our room guards detected the damage and raised the alarm. An emergency situation was immediately declared."
The post further added, "Our heritage must be protected: adopting responsible behaviour within the museum while respecting the works preserved in it is not only a civic duty, but a sign of respect for what our history and culture testifies, and that must be proudly handed down to future generations."
In a statement, an outraged Mayor of Possagno, Valerio Favero, addressed the tourist’s actions while speaking to an Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano saying, "The really incredible thing is that he had not thought of reporting the incident. In my eyes, the fact of leaving the sculpture in that condition is criminal."
Museum authorities managed to identify the man as a result of the new track and trace measures, which were recently introduced due to the pandemic, and require visitors to sign in and leave their contact details. Upon being contacted, an apology via email was sent to the police by the unnamed individual, according to the Italian news agency Adnkronos. "During the visit to the Museum of Possagno, I sat on the statue, without realising the damage that I evidently caused. I apologise in every way," he reportedly wrote. As of now, it remains unknown as to whether the man will be charged.
Housed currently in Rome’s Galleria Borghese, the sculpture is a plaster cast of the marble version, and was created by Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova in 1804. Restoration work on the sculpture is currently being planned. Watch the video of the incident shared by international news organization Reuters on their Twitter page:
Oops! CCTV camera captures the moment a tourist snapped the toes off a Canova sculpture in Italy pic.twitter.com/KgJxsiUHD6— Reuters (@Reuters) August 5, 2020