How happened the fate of 10 famous paintings that were spoiled by vandals
Pictures of famous (and sometimes not very masters) sometimes have a magical effect on people. And it happens that this is not only admiring and rapture, but extreme reactions. So that patients with nervous breakdowns who “reviewed” the statue of Michelangelo “David” regularly come to the hospital in Florence. And there are not known isolated cases when museum visitors tried to destroy works of art. And the reasons for this among the vandals were very different.
1. Venus with a mirror. Diego Velazquez
In 1914, suffragist Mary Richardson cut the painting “Venus with a Mirror” when it was exhibited at the National Gallery in London. The picture was found five cuts made by a knife. Richardson protested against the arrest of Emmeline Pankhurst and was soon nicknamed by the press “Mary Butcher.” Richardson claimed that she held a protest not only to raise awareness of the arrest of Pankhurst, but also to object to “how visitors stare at the picture all day.”
The canvas depicts a naked woman, his back to the artist. Her fifth point is traced so carefully that it looks like a “three-dimensional image.” The woman in the picture looks at the viewer from the mirror, as if she knows that she is being watched, and this gives the viewer the feeling that the woman wants to be admired. Since then, the picture has been skillfully restored, and now the traces of damage is almost impossible to see.
2. Fall of the Damned. Peter Paul Rubens
The Fall of the Damned was written by Rubens in 1620. The canvas depicts the fall of rebel angels from heaven to hell. This is a huge picture of over 2.9 meters by 2.2 meters, on which are painted many mortal and rebellious angels in varying degrees of nakedness, falling from the sky into the fire pit below. In 1959, the picture was doused with acid. Vandal claimed that he did not directly destroy a work of art, because acid “frees a person from work to destroy” (some have noticed that it is a bit like the gun frees a person from work on a headshot).
It is not known why he decided to destroy the Fall of the Damned, but the restorers had to try to recreate the work using Rubens original sketches. However, despite all attempts at restoration, the acid dissolved the paint and caused irreparable damage to a part of the work of art.
3. Mona Lisa. Leonardo da Vinci
Mona Lisa has been targeted by the Vandals many times. The picture was damaged twice in 1956 – once, when a vandal splashed acid into the picture, and again, when someone threw a stone at it. Most recently, a Russian woman, who was denied French citizenship just before, threw a glass into the picture.
Nevertheless, the leadership of the Louvre, obviously, has learned from past experience. The most expensive painting in the world is protected by bullet-proof glass. A glass that was empty broke on the glass without causing harm.
4. Ivan the Terrible kills his son. Ilya Repin
“Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan on November 16, 1581” (also known as “Ivan the Terrible kills his son”) is one of the most famous and controversial Russian paintings. It depicts an infamous king hugging a dying son lying in his arms, while sadness and horror are clearly visible on the king’s face. In May 2018, a man who went to look at the picture after drinking a fair amount of vodka attacked this work of art. He picked up one of the metal posts used to hold the fence of the ropes, then hit them with a picture, breaking through the protective glass and tearing the canvas.
Fortunately, the post did not hurt the main part of the picture. It is not clear why the vandal chose this particular picture for destruction. Perhaps this is due to the fact that this work has long been the cause of disagreements in Russia, when many nationalists disputed the generally accepted interpretation of Tsar Ivan IV Vasilyevich. Interestingly, more than a century ago, the artist himself had to restore his painting after it was cut in 1913. Now, experts from the gallery say that a work of art can be restored, but it will take years.
5. Lullaby. Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh began writing “Lullaby” a few days before he cut off his ear. He completed the picture after returning from the hospital. The painting depicts a woman sitting in a rocking chair.