art crimes

An Austrian Tourist’s Butt Broke a 200-Year-Old Sculpture

The marble Venus Victrix in the Galleria Borghese in Rome. The original plaster mold now looks mostly the same, minus some toes. Photo: Architas/Wikipedia

Tell Comedy Central to renew Detroiters, because we’ve got ourselves a good old-fashioned Chump of the Week. The New York Times reports that on July 31, an Austrian tourist who clearly knows how to party celebrated his 50th birthday by visiting the Gypsotheca in Possagno, Italy, a museum dedicated specifically to plaster casts of the works of Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova. Plaster casts are famously brittle and not marble, so it’s already miraculous that these works are as well preserved as they are. But when the tourist came across the Venus Victrix, which Canova sculpted between 1805–1808 on the figure of Pauline Bonaparte, he took a kind of “if it fits I sits” approach to his art appreciation and plopped himself right down on the 200-year-old figure, literally posing like one of Canova’s French girls. CNN reported that three of the sculpture’s 200-year-old toes broke off on account of his butt, and of course, the museum released CCTV footage of the incident. Authorities were able to track the man down from visitor logs, and he released an apology which was shared by the museum’s Facebook page, in which he owns up to the incident and says, “I apologize in every way.” Worst art heist ever, if you ask us.

A vaporwave album cover. Photo: Epic News/YouTube
An Austrian Tourist’s Butt Broke a Sculpture