An as-of-yet unidentified student trying to take an extreme selfie with a sculpture reportedly destroyed the priceless work of art in a Milan, Italy gallery earlier this week. According to witnesses, a young male jumped onto a 19th century sculpture titled “Drunken Satyr” at the much revered Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in an effort to capture the ultimate self portrait. No word on whether he successfully captured the desired image.
Gallery staff reportedly discovered the destruction when they found the resultant chunks of the sculpture that had been broken off by the selfie-taking culprit. Photos of the broken statue have been circulating around social media sites and show what appears to be an entire leg broken off of the sculpture.
The identity of the selfie-taking student may remain unknown, but it has been reported that there were cameras observing the area at the time and witnesses to the incident have been able to provide investigators with some identifying details relating to the unwitting criminal.
The now-damaged Drunken Satyr is apparently a copy of an original ancient Greek sculpture unearthed in the early 1600s. It depicts a part human, part animal creature in what appears to be a state of drunken slumber. Despite its status as a replica, however, the sculpture itself dates back to the 19th century and is itself believed to be of immense value. The statue was reportedly in the process of undergoing restoration for an upcoming expo. It is apparently part of a display of sculptures just outside of an area where statues and sculptures of much greater value are displayed. The original Drunken Satyr is housed, fully intact, in Munich, Germany.
This most recent student attempt to capture the perfect selfie is not the first such effort to go awry. Some may recall the story of the two Utah scout leaders who were responsible for the toppling of a 170 million-year-old rock formation in Utah’s Goblin Valley last fall. While the two claim to have been motivated by a desire to ensure the safety of the scouts they were leading on a hike through the area, the antics of the enthusiastic pair were caught on camera and led to strong reactions both by the public and law enforcement.The scout leaders reportedly received death rates as a result of their destruction of the national landmark, and were eventually charged with felony counts of criminal mischief and aiding and abetting criminal mischief that left them facing up to 5 years in prison. Earlier this week they entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors, the terms of which include that each of them will be on probation for a period of one year and pay a yet to be determined amount of fines and restitution expected to amount to thousands of dollars. The money is expected to be used to post signs in the Goblin Valley park warning others not to destroy the ancient landmarks.
The fate of the young selfie-taking student who destroyed a priceless work of art in a Milan gallery this week remains unknown and appears to be dependent on the ability of investigators to unearth his identity. These incidents and others may seem to some to be a clear demonstration that the selfie phenomenon had gone too far, but as the genre continues to dominate the photographic landscape, the quest for the ultimate selfie is likely to continue.
By Michele Wessel