Picasso's The Actor Is Torn in the Name of Love
Pablo Picasso had so many wives and mistresses throughout his life, we can probably assume that he would have been understanding if he knew one of his paintings was accidentally destroyed by someone thinking about love. Or, at the very least, fornication.
At 23, Picasso was still at least vaguely interested in maintaining a sense of realism in his paintings. The Actor is a 6-foot-by-4-foot portrait of a stage performer, one of the biggest paintings he completed at the time and worth over $100 million today. At least it would be, if it didn't have a 6-inch gash in it.
In Picasso's day, it was traditional for actors to wear jumpsuits made from the flesh of fallen actors.
So What Happened?
By now it should come as no surprise that museums are some of the most hazardous places to keep art. Adding another to the list, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was the scene of The Actor's destruction. A student attending an art class was examining the painting when she stumbled into The Actor, putting a long tear in the bottom right corner.
"Well, hell. Coloring it in with a pen didn't help at all."
But that's not the whole story. Just a day after the event, this message appeared on Craigslist's Close Encounters in New York:
"This was on Friday at the Met. I remember you from the elevator when we were going from the 1st floor to the 2nd floor. You were the guy wearing the red sweater... I held the door open for you and you smiled at me. I saw you again in the Cubism section. I was standing in front of The Actor painting by Picasso. You were looking at Matisse's View of Collioure and the Sea. You were standing there for a while, sketching in a brown notebook. I was about to approach you, but froze up and ended up tripping and falling into the painting leaving a small tear.
I think you left before the security got there.
If you read about this in the news the next day, I'm the girl from the elevator."
"It was a distractingly terrible sweater."
It's not clear whether the ad is real or not, but it certainly rings of sincerity ... and desperation. We can only hope that the art destroyer did finally hook up with that cubism-loving red sweater. Surely Picasso would have wanted a multimillion dollar disaster to at least culminate in a little sex.
Siobhan blogs at her blog and tweets at her Twitter @SiobhanPMcKeown.
For more ridiculous destruction, check out 7 Books We Lost to History That Would Have Changed the World and The 5 Most Horrifyingly Wasteful Film Shoots.
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