A Little Boy Accidentally Tore A Hole In A Million-Dollar Museum Painting, So Maybe Staying In And Playing Video Games Isn’t So Bad

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tearing-paintingHaving kids is expensive in ways parents can never fully imagine. They need clothes, and braces, and shoes, and food, and then sometimes you take them out to get them a nice bit of culture and they accidentally tear a hole in a 350-year-old painting and you have 10,000 heart attacks right there in the Old Masters wing. OK, most of us are able to take our kids to museums without that happening, but it has to be in the back of our minds. “What if my kid tears a Da Vinci?” Well that actually happened to a couple this week who took their small child to a museum and watched him tumble into a million-dollar painting and rip a hole right in it.

According to The Guardian, this happened to a 12-year-old boy in Taiwan. He was with his parents at the Face of Leonardo: Images of a Genius exhibition in Taipei when he stumbled and accidentally shoved his hand right through a 350-year-old oil painting.

The whole thing was caught on video here:


When he tripped, the boy accidentally put a U-shaped, fist-sized tear in the bottom corner of the painting. The poor kid freezes in horror as soon as he realizes what has happened. He looks around, then looks back. The people clustered nearby seem to edge away from the scene.

The painting was a work called “Flowers” by Paolo Porpora and is worth approximately $1.5 million. It was on loan to the exhibit from a private collection.

This actually happened to a friend of mine on a school trip to Paris when we were freshmen in high school. We were all going to see Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musee de l’Orangerie, where they are wrapped around the walls of a small, round room. One descends a small staircase to enter the room, and as we entered, the girl in front of me took a stair the wrong way, stumbled over a step, and smacked her hand right against the painting with all her weight behind it.

She froze. I shouted, “It wasn’t me!” And then we realized that by some miracle nothing had happened to the painting when she hit it. It was totally fine. We all ran away. I’ve never been back to that museum.

“Flowers” has been taken down to be repaired and restored. Luckily for this boy’s parents, the museum says the painting is insured and they will not be looking for compensation from the boy’s family.