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Every curator’s worst fear came true Saturday for the stewards of an exhibition of Italian masterpieces in Taiwan, when a visitor stumbled and accidentally punched a hole in one of the paintings.
The exhibit in this case was the 17th century oil painting Flowers by Italian master Paolo Porpora (1617–1673). It is, according to the Guardian, which cited a database of European art, the only one of Porpora’s works that is signed. Taiwan’s official Central News Agency (CNA) reported that the work was valued at over $1.5 million.
It was damaged when a 12-year-old boy, strolling through the exhibition being held in the capital Taipei, lost his footing right in front of the work, CNA says.
In a video posted to YouTube by the agency, boy is then seen stumbling over a barrier and accidentally punching his hand through the canvas. He gets up, sheepishly looks up at the damage and then turns around to see the presumably horrified reactions of passersby.
The boy’s family will not have to pay the restoration costs, as the painting was already insured, but organizers fear the damage is permanent.