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Austrian tourist damages toes of 200-year-old statue in Italy

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, August 7, 2020  /  03:54 pm
Austrian tourist damages toes of 200-year-old statue in Italy

A model of Pauline Bonaparte created by Italian sculptor and painter Antonio Canova is exhibited at the Galleria Borghese in Rome in October 2007. (AFP/Christophe Simon)

An Austrian has been identified as the tourist who broke three toes off a 19th-century Antonio Canova statue of Paolina Bonaparte at the Gipsoteca Museum in Possagno, Italy, while sprawling over it to take a picture.

CCTV footage released by Italian police shows a tourist posing for a photograph while leaning on a 19th-century plaster model of 'Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as Venus Victrix' by sculptor Antonio Canova before damaging the toes of the sculpture at the Gypsotheca Antonio Canova museum in Possagno, Italy, on July 31.CCTV footage released by Italian police shows a tourist posing for a photograph while leaning on a 19th-century plaster model of 'Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as Venus Victrix' by sculptor Antonio Canova before damaging the toes of the sculpture at the Gypsotheca Antonio Canova museum in Possagno, Italy, on July 31. (Handout via REUTERS /Carabinieri Treviso)

The man turned himself in after police contacted a woman who signed her husband and herself in the museum as per coronavirus protocol. She confessed her husband’s action that was caught on security cameras.

“There could be further damage to the base of the sculpture that the museum experts still have to ascertain,” said investigators of the case as reported by CNN.

A photo released by Italian police shows damage to a 19th-century plaster model of 'Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as Venus Victrix' by sculptor Antonio Canova after a tourist leaned on it while posing for a photograph at the Gypsotheca Antonio Canova museum in Possagno, Italy, on July 31.A photo released by Italian police shows damage to a 19th-century plaster model of 'Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as Venus Victrix' by sculptor Antonio Canova after a tourist leaned on it while posing for a photograph at the Gypsotheca Antonio Canova museum in Possagno, Italy, on July 31. (Handout via REUTERS/Carabinieri Treviso)

The tourist called his action a “stupid move”, according to a press release from local law enforcement agency Treviso Carabinieri, and is currently awaiting verdict from a court in Treviso.

Vittorio Sgarbi, president of the Antonio Canova Foundation, wrote on Facebook that the man “must not remain unpunished and return to his homeland. The scarring of a Canova is unacceptable”. He asked for “clarity and rigor” from the police.

According to CNN, the damaged statue is the original plaster cast model from which Canova carved a marble statue, which is now located in the Borghese Gallery in Rome.

Tourists’ behaviors have been one of the most challenging aspects in the travel industry. In June last year, Rome established new restrictions against tourists, such as going shirtless in public, attaching “love padlocks” on bridges and drinking from iconic water fountains. Tourists are also not allowed to eat messy food in the vicinity of tourist attractions like the Trevi Fountain.

In February, thousands of wads of used chewing gum covered the stone surfaces of the Borobudur temple in Magelang, Central Java. The main stupas that sit between the temple's seventh and tenth stories had white stains on them as a result of this irresponsible behavior, according to the Borobudur Conservation Agency's security group coordinator Hary Setyawan. (car/wng)

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