Getting A Feel For Art: Teenager In Taipei Trips and Puts Fist Through Italian Masterpiece

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 7.12.18 AM“Flowers”, an oil-on-canvas work by Italian artist Paolo Porpora valued at $1.5 million, is one of the highlights of the show Face of Leonardo: Images of a Genius exhibition in Taipei. That face got something of a black eye when a teenager slipped and put this fist through the painting.

We have previously discussed the time that Steve Wynn, the casino and hotel magnate, put his fist through another masterpiece (Wynn suffers from suffers from the eye disease retinitis pigmentosa which affects his peripheral vision). He was showcasing his “Le Rêve,” Picasso’s 1932 portrait of his mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter. On the day of the sale, in which the work reportedly was offered at $40 million to hedge-fund mogul Steven Cohen, Wynn was gesturing toward the painting when he put his elbow through it. Cohen promptly declared “no sale.”

Now, 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. We have also seen people intentionally put their fists through paintings.

The more common cases of art damage involve cases of falls or trips or slips.

The boy was in a tour group and listening to the guide when he tripped. He was also carrying a can of soda which was bizarre since most shows and museum strictly forbid beverages around pieces of art like this. Nevertheless, it was an innocent accident with horrible consequences.


The family will not be asked to pay for the costly restoration. It was a scene out of Mr. Bean or some slapstick film as the boy freezes while viewing the results.

9 thoughts on “Getting A Feel For Art: Teenager In Taipei Trips and Puts Fist Through Italian Masterpiece”

  1. I almost did this myself at an exhibit of Van Goghs. We took the entire school on a field trip to the museum and our particular guide was less knowledgeable than i was. Since many of my history of art students were in my group I was showing them a particular technique we had talked about in class. I had my back to the painting and was closer than I thought. When I put my finger back to point at the technique my finger, luckily, my finger hit glass. It was one of the few pieces covered in glass.

    The students all had heart-attacks as did the guide when I hit the painting. I apologized and we moved on to the next painting. The students would not let me get within arm’s length of a painting after that. 🙂

  2. “Artwork” has high value because of chumps. These same dorks buy expensive watches which are advertised on the first page of expensive magazines. Never donate money to a museum. They will spend it on chump art work.

  3. Poor boy. It sounds like it was not malicious at all, just an accident. I couldn’t watch the video. They usually rope off works to prevent people from touching them, but who could anticipate a slip and fall? I agree with bam bam that they should revisit how close they allow the public for any works by the Old World Masters. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get close enough to observe the brush strokes and fine detail, but hopefully they can create a safer buffer zone. And they do need to be more careful about allowing open drinks. At least this story didn’t end with “and then his soda sprayed all over 3 masterpieces.”

  4. bam, I don’t know the answer. I am secure enough to say “I don’t know” when I don’t know. I tend to avoid art galleries. I love museums and libraries.

  5. isaac

    You are, indeed, correct. If I wanted to know answers, you are definitely not the person for the task.

  6. bam bam

    You may need to get a hold of someone to help you answer those questions. I know of a private investigator who might be able to help.

  7. Anything valued at 1.5 million and displayed on a wall for public perusal shouldn’t be a mere arm’s length away from a passing crowd. While accidents can and will happen, the failure to keep viewers at a more secure distance–using some sort of barriers–is surprising. What sort of venue was this and why were drinks and/or food allowed on the premises?

  8. Got to be on alert for freak accidents and take the necessary precautions. Take this innocent Frisbee game for instance. Fake or real?

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