They were burned, washed and even ate only in the XX century the mankind has lost thousands of works of art for millions of dollars. Eight of the most ridiculous cases of destruction of old masterpieces and modern art objects.
Eaten picture: “Christmas with Saint Francis and Saint Lawrence” by Caravaggio
In 1969, unknown persons looted the chapel of San Lorenzo in Palermo. Canvas Caravaggio was removed from the frame and carried in an unknown direction, and with him out of the Church disappeared and other works of art down to benches made of fine wood. The fate of Caravaggio was unknown 40 years: kidnapping suspected Sicilian mafia, and the painting is considered dead in case of strong earthquake or sold outside the country. In the late ‘ 80s one of the former mobsters admitted that he stole the masterpiece, written 400 years ago and valued at $20 million, However, about his fate, the kidnapper knew nothing. Only in 2009 there was a different member of the criminal organization “La Cosa Nostra”. According to him, the painting was transferred to one of the Sicilian families that kept her on the farm. Priceless canvas partially eaten by pigs and rats, and the remains were burned. Now the chapel of San Lorenzo decorates the original instead of a reproduction.
Fatal selfie: the statue of king Sebastian I
A love of striking self-portraits destroyed more than one masterpiece — for example, the statue of king Sebastian I, created in 1890. The legendary ruler of Portugal was killed in the XVI century, during a crusade in Morocco, but his body was never found, so the Portuguese believe that in difficult times he will come back and save the country. But to save the statue of a young king under the protection of the state, failed: more than a century, it stood quietly in the alcove at the entrance to Lisbon’s Rossio station, but the advent of modern technology, the ancient art were not ready. In 2016, the tourist tried to climb on a pedestal to impress a loved one next to the statue, and a marble figure fell, crashing into small pieces. The hapless photographer tried to escape but was detained by the police.
Canvas and eraser: “Erased de Kooning drawing” Rauschenberg
In the mid-twentieth century artist Robert Rauschenberg brought the idea of creativity to its logical limit: he decided to create a new leaf, erasing the old one. First, the experimenter practiced on their own paintings, and then asked for the sample to erase to my favorite author — Willem de Kooning. After some hesitation, the Dutch artist gave Rauschenberg a drawing made with pencil, ink and charcoal. Abstractionist erased the image almost two months using different erasers. Bleached canvas inserted into the frame and supplied with an explanatory inscription, and in 1998 it was bought by the Museum of modern art San Francisco. In the Museum catalogue it is listed as “figure with traces of material to draw on paper with label and gilded frame”. About the original work, now we can only guess. Guess it looked like a Studio sketch with several figures, looking in different directions.
Order in the first place: “When it starts dripping from the ceiling” by Martin Kippenberger
The main enemies of modern artists — guardians of the purity. In the Museum of the German city of Dortmund cleaner a few movements destroyed the artwork, she washed the basin, which was part of the installation of Martin Kippenberger’s “When it starts dripping from the ceiling.” This job was a six-foot structure of wooden planks, under which stood a basin with patina: so the artist has represented the residue remaining after dry dripping on top of the water. Despite the rule prohibiting technicians to come to the Museum exhibits closer than 20 cm, conscientious worker took the cloth and be wiped off the dirty stains. Composition, insured for €800 000, were lost forever.
The great fire: “Everyone I ever slept with” Tracey Emin
The fire at the London Momart warehouse of the company in may 2004 could not be put out day or two. I assume that the cause was arson. Most of all, the fire damaged the collection of arts patron Charles Saatchi. In flames killed dozens of works of modern art — the work flow of the “young British artists”. One of them is the installation of Tracey Emin “Everyone I ever slept with 1963-1995”, which brought her fame. Art-the object looked like a tent, decorated with applications with names of people with whom the artist slept — in all senses of the word: among them are the names of her relatives, for example grandmother. To recreate his work, she refused. Another exhibition Emin “My bed” sold at Christie’s for 2.5 million, the Museum staff one day just to “put in order”: they gathered and threw Slippers, magazines, torn tights and other artifacts scattered around the bed, and the bed neatly tucked.
Naughty lace vases Qing dynasty
Fragile beauty destroyed is not the time and an accident. Three 400 year old Qing dynasty vases stood on the windowsill of one of the museums of Cambridge about 40 years, until the sad day when it looked a certain Nick Flynn. He climbed the stairs, tripped over a loose lace, waved his hand and dropped a beautiful vessel that crashed into hundreds of fragments. They gathered around the room, and a year of priceless exhibits were recovered. The cause of the incident were banned for life from the entrance to the Museum and was even awarded the world prize for stupidity in the nomination “the Transformation of an awkward situation in an awkward”.
In a pile of garbage: “Owl is a night woman” Jacques Newasia
In 2017 in Montreal held the First folk festival, attended by representatives of the indigenous population of Canada. The artist of the Indian tribe atikameg Jacques Nuasis three days had carved a sculpture out of wood using a chainsaw and ax. “The Owl is a night woman” from the beginning, not claim to a long life: she was going to burn in a symbolic cleansing ceremony in memory of the victims and missing women, indigenous peoples. But the day before the totem disappeared. Later it turned out that almost finished the sculpture stood in a pile of wood chips and sawdust and while cleaning schik just threw it with the trash. According to the worker, such an order gave him one of the managers of the festival. Representatives of the city authorities apologized, and the festival organizers recognized that there was not enough vigilant.
Self-destruct: “Girl balloon” by Banksy
To damage the author’s copies of famous graffiti Banksy “Girl with balloon” had a hand in the artist himself. The picture was sold in 2018 at Sotheby’s auction for $1.3 million But as soon as he announced the completion of the auction, it was built into the massive frame of the shredder and the canvas is two-thirds self-destruct: the lower part of the tool cut into small strips. The rest survived only because the mechanism was faulty. The new owner took the fragment home and called it “Love in the dumpster”. Later, Banksy said that Schroeder built into the frame just in case of sale. “The desire for destruction is also a creative urge”, — explained the artist.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128