15 Spectacular Historic Moments in Wanton Art Desecration

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15 Spectacular Historic Moments in Wanton Art Desecration

Whether for noble, selfish, or straight-up dumb reasons, no work of art is safe from the scourge of mankind. Often times, people want to bring attention to an incredibly important cause, like climate change, equal rights, or some specific injustice. The point of their defacement is to make the general public reflect on its values: if we're getting so upset about some soup on a painting, shouldn't we be getting exponentially more upset over the death of our planet? 

Other times, it's pure clumsiness that has forced museums to call in the emergency art restoration squad: a kid punches through a painting trying to keep his balance after tripping, a man trips all the way down the stairs and knocks over some vases.

Whatever the intention, it all feels like a game of Clue: A Van Gogh, with tomato soup, to protest against Big Oil. The Rokeby Venus, with a meat cleaver, for women's suffrage. Two priceless Qing Dynasty vases, via elaborate slapstick-esque tumble down the stairs, because of an untied shoelace.

Claude Monet's 'Grainstacks'

GERMAN ACTIVISTS GAVE A MASHED POTATO MAKEOVER TO A MONET. In a bout of climate activism, two activists gave Monet's Grainstacks (1890) a mashed potato facial and glued their hands to the wall beneath it. The painting was protected by a layer of glass and unharmed, but the Barberini Museum confirmed that its 19th- century gold frame was affected. CRACKED

Claude Monet, Letzte Generation

Hyperallergic

'Ecce Homo'

AN OLD WOMAN TRIED TO RESTORE A FRESCO OF JESUS. In 2012, a woman's failed attempt to restore a fresco made headlines around the world. The original painting of Jesus and made by Elías García Martínez in 1930. After the restoration attempt, it looked more like a monkey in an ill-fitting tunic. CRACKED

Elías García Martínez, Cecilia Giménez

SEQUITUR

Johannes Vermeer's 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'

CRACKED ECO-ACTIVISTS STAGED A WEIRD PROTEST IN THE HAGUE. Just Stop Oil, an eco-activist group, protested at the Mauritshuis Museum. One member glued his scalp to the glass covering Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, while another poured tomatoes over his head. The artwork is apparently undamaged.

Johannes Vermeer, Twitter

The National

Banksy's 'Spy Booth'

CRACKED - amount | - A BANKSY WAS VANDALIZED WITH SILVER PAINT. Banksy's street art Spy Booth, in Cheltenham, UK was defaced with silver paint. This act of vandalism has caused controversy, as some locals see the piece as a valuable asset to their community.

Banksy

Widewalls

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