It was reported recently by Hyperallergic that an 18th century Portuguese sculpture from the National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon has been the most recent victim of the world’s desire to take selfies. The work, a wooden sculpture depicting the archangel Saint Michael, shattered into a number of pieces after a Brazilian tourist tripped and backed into it. Another museum visitor was in the gallery at the time and captured the sad, broken aftermath: “There were guards in the room at the time it happened … Everyone was incredulous at what had happened and there was a great silence.”
Though all will hopefully be well—the work will undergo examination by the museum’s conservation team—the institution’s deputy director José Alberto did call the situation “deplorable,” stating “the statue is very affected in the wings, in one arm and mantle. The damage is severe but reversible.”
This isn’t the first (or the second, or the third) time an excited selfie-taker has damaged a work of art. Who can forget this statue that fell apart when a 24-year-old man climbed on it for a picture. Or this work that lost its leg in the line of duty. All for a museum selfie.