Remember when you went on a field trip with your class as a kid for the first time and your teacher would reiterate, over and over again, just how important it was not to touch anything? They'd say it before you left the school. They'd say it when you were on the bus ride over there as you wondered what kind of gift shop the place would have and wished your best friend was your designated "buddy" instead of the kid who really likes bugs (maybe that kid was you.)
They'd remind you to keep your grubby paws to yourself as you walked through the museum's doors and pointed out the ropes meant to protect the priceless artifacts from the likes of you. And maybe if you had a teacher like mine, they'd point to the security guards intoning that you'd be in big, big trouble if you violated the sacred pact of touching anything.
There's a part of me that thinks this gentleman who visited the Antonio Canova Museum in Possagno, Italy, didn't go on many field trips as a kid.
How else would one be able to explain the behavior of this particular Austrian tourist who frequented the museum while on holiday in Italy? While ambling the floor of the museum, he came upon a 200-year-old plaster statue, a famous work of art depicting woman lounging on a recliner. The tourist thought it'd make for a great photo op if he sat down on the chair and struck a pose.
What he didn't realize, however, was that the caused immeasurable damage to the piece. After leaning too hard on the work of art, he accidentally broke off the statue's toes. You know, because it wasn't meant for someone to sit on it, it's made out of plaster after all and is only a couple of centuries old.
The entire incident was captured on the museum's CCTV system. In the clip, the man can be seen getting up from the statue and then noticing something's amiss. He sees the toes and tries to put them back on the statue (it doesn't work like that, bro). He then exits the exhibit room without addressing anyone. Admins who run the Facebook page posted about the incident, with the news spreading on Facebook.
Then The Telegraph posted the video on their YouTube channel.
This particular tourist does deserve some praise, however, for coming forward and fessing up to breaking the statue. He wrote a letter to the President of the Canova foundation, insisting that he work with the Museum to help rectify the situation as best as he can.
He writes, per PetaPixel: "I remain at complete disposal, it was irresponsible behavior on my part, the consequences were unknown to me, so I normally continued the visit to the museum and the entire stay in Italy (I didn’t escape.) During the visit I sat on the statue, without realizing the damage I evidently caused. I ask you for information on the steps that are necessary on my part in this situation for me very unpleasant and for which, in the first place, I apologize in all ways."
The museum is currently working with the individual to find an amicable solution for repairing the work of art. While the cost of art restoration for a painting starts at around $1,000, those prices can balloon up to much greater numbers depending on the antiquity of the piece, however.
But those are just the figures for paintings.
Art restoration costs for statues start at $700 just for cleaning, and total restoration of a statue can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000. So this tourist may discover that his vacation to Italy ended up costing a lot more than the cost of his flight, lodging, and meals.
At least he had a better reaction to destroying the statue than some other ruiners of priceless art.
In 2014, a student visiting a Milan School of Fine Art accidentally snapped the foot off the Barberini Faun. A 24-year-old in Portgula tried climbing a 126-year-old statue for a photograph and ending up breaking it into a bunch of different pieces. He fled the scene of the crime but authorities caught up with him. And if you go online, you'll see countless instances of people accidentally ruining works of art through their carelessness.