You know when your kid throws a tantrum in the checkout line at Target and you cringe in embarrassment? Yeah, that’s nothing compared to how the parents of this Taiwanese kid, who smashed through a million-dollar painting, must feel.
The 12-year-old was at the Face of Leonardo: Images of a Genius exhibition in Taipei when he accidentally tripped and punched a hole through a 350-year-old Paolo Porpora painting. Even more humiliating? The whole thing was caught on CCTV and shared widely on the Internet.
Footage of the incident shows the boy stumble and break his fall using the painting before backing away nervously and trying to play the whole thing off. He looks around like there’s a chance people didn’t notice he just obliterated a famous work of art, then he looks back at the painting nervously and scans the room again like he’s about to get arrested by the art police. Check out his not-so-smooth moves:
You can’t tell from the video, but the kid’s hand punched a big hole in the lower left corner of the 17th century masterpiece. The painting — an oil on canvas work called “Flowers” — will have to be shipped back to Italy and undergo a costly restoration. Luckily it’s insured through a private owner, so the boy’s family won’t have to foot the bill. Prior to the accident, the painting was valued at $1.5 million.
Even though he lucked out of covering the financial costs for his little snafu, the boy still got a harsh punishment. According to The Telegraph, he’s been banned from all galleries at the Huashan 1914 Creative Park, where the exhibit was being held. In a post on their official Facebook page, the event organizers explained, “All 55 paintings in the venue are authentic pieces and they are very rare and precious. Once these works are damaged, they are permanently damaged.”
If you were to make a list of nightmare scenarios, damaging an expensive painting in an art exhibit would probably rank pretty high. In fact, the only thing I’d hate more than accidentally putting my hand through a 350-year-old painting would be watching my kid do it. I’m sure the boy was terrified, but can you imagine how nervous his parents must have been? After all, they’d be the ones footing the bill.
Kids often make silly mistakes and do embarrassing things when they’re out and about, but an accident like this should help you keep all of your kid’s minor humiliations in perspective. Sure, maybe they barfed in the middle of a restaurant or pointed out someone’s hairy mole, but at the end of the day, they didn’t put their hand through a million-dollar work of art, so how bad can things really be?
All kidding aside, we hope this kid and his family weren’t traumatized too much by his fall seen ’round the world. He really stuck the landing, but at least he didn’t have to fork over his college fund to cover the damage. I suggest they invest their savings in a child-size suit made of Bubble Wrap.