A tourist destroyed two sculptures in the Vatican Museums because he couldn’t see the Pope

Two 2,000-year-old marble Roman busts were damaged by a tourist
Two 2,000-year-old marble Roman busts were damaged by a tourist

A tourist violently threw himself on the ground two Roman busts exhibited in the Vatican Museums and he planned to continue with the destruction if it were not for the intermediation of a tour guide, who prevented him from continuing to demolish other sculptures.

It happened in the morning Chiaramonti Museumwithin the complex of the Vatican Museums, in the collection that brings together Roman portraits and has the surname of Pope Pius VII.

The press office of the Vatican Museums considers it “the gesture of a deranged person”. It’s about a middle-aged visitor from the United States of Egyptian origin. According to the first investigations, he had requested to see the Pope and upon receiving a negative answer he threw two sculptures to the ground. It is not clear how he managed to do it, since they were theoretically anchored.

One of the smashed busts
One of the smashed busts

After the attack on the property, the assailant tried to escape and security agents arrested him. He was immediately placed at the disposal of the Vatican gendarmerie. The Museum’s marble restoration team assured that the damage “are not significant” and that it is already working to repair them.

In a photograph posted on Facebook by a tour guide, two busts can be seen on the ground. One has damage to the nose and another to the base. The image was also published on the Instagram profile @vatiland, of the tour guide Erik Walters. He assures that the man who appears crouched on the left is the author of the damage, reported ABC.

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“The guy kneeling on the left in one of the galleries of the Vatican Museums knocked down two Roman marble busts from 2,000 years old. A picture is worth a thousand words,” she writes.

The Chiaramonti Museum emerged in 1806, after the museums had to cede a large part of their works to the France of Napoleonwhen the then pontiff undertook a campaign to acquire new pieces.

The curious thing about this gallery is that Antonio Canova established it in the 19th century following the criteria of Quatremere of Quincywhich, as stated in the general guide to Vatican City, to criticize the plundering of works undertaken by Napoleon, recalled that “works of art are understandable only if they are preserved in their original place and can be compared with lower quality copies” .


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