An Italian city council official hoping to uncork some holiday cheer instead left partygoers horrified when he opened a bottle of bubbly and sent a cork rocketing clear through a giant 18th century oil painting, resulting in a gaping hole and over a thousand dollars’ worth of damage, the British newspaper the Telegraph reported.
As reported in the Telegraph, the incident occurred just before Christmas, when Roberto Cassago, 71, a council official for the provincial government in Milan was passing by a holiday party taking place at the council’s Milan offices. He told the Telegraph he was invited to join the festivities by a fellow reveler and asked to uncork a bottle of sparkling wine. As he popped the bottle, the cork went flying through a nearby painting — by an unknown artist — of armored knights on horses dating from the 18th century.
According to the Telegraph, Mr. Cassago said he rarely drinks alcohol and thus did not have experience opening bottles of wine. He says he won’t risk popping corks any time soon.
“This time I’ll get someone else to open the bottle,” he told the Telegraph.
Art has been under siege across the globe of late.
This past summer, an American tourist knocked a finger off a 600-year-old statue by medieval sculptor Giovanni d’Ambrogio in Florence, Italy.
Signs reminding visitors to not touch the statue went unheeded.
In 2012, an elderly Spanish woman Cecilia Gimenez botched an attempted restoration of a century-old painting of Jesus by Spanish painter Elias Garcia Martinez. The picture of the ruined fresco quickly went viral.
And in 2006, casino magnate Steve Wynn famously put his elbow through a Picasso from his personal collection he had just sold for $139 million. Wynn had the painting repaired and agreed to release the buyer from the sale agreement.