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The original “Drunken Stayr,” aka “Barberini Faun,” on view at the Glyptothek in Munich (photo via Wikimedia Commons)

It’s one thing for people to take selfies with works of art; it’s another to climb on the art in order to get a photo and break it in the process. Unfortunately, this is not an Onion headline but rather something that actually happened, at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan, where a young man climbed onto a sculpture in his quest for the perfect selfie and broke off its left leg in the process. The man, whom the Corriere della Sera identifies as “presumably a foreign student” (because all young Italians presumably know better), dismembered the sculpture known as “Drunken Satyr” — although thankfully, this was just a 19th-century gesso reproduction of the famous ancient Greek statue. No word on whether the student himself was drunk at the time (he can’t even be identified because technical problems are preventing the academy from accessing the security camera images).

Academy Director Franco Marrocco is graciously treating the ordeal as an accident, but let’s take it for what we know it really is: a precautionary tale about society’s unrelenting addiction to selfies and smartphones. The decline of art at the hands of digital technology. And possibly part of weird young-person-climbing-on-art trend. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

h/t Dazed Digital

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Jillian Steinhauer

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art...

11 replies on “Man Breaks Statue in Quest for Selfie”

  1. Thank Heaven the piece was a replica. Why would you climb onto the artwork???? You should only interact with an artwork if the installation invites you to touch or climb onto it. I get it for a selfie, that’s what the story says, but take your picture next to the piece of art. It is a thing called respect. When you break pieces of work like that you can be sent to jail, fined extremely heavily, and/or deported back to your country if you are visiting. You are runing a lifetime experience for countless others! Grow up!

    1. Thanks for posting this – What’s also amazing is the graffiti on the sculpture’s pedestal…

  2. Maybe he did it on purpose because they don’t show enough artists from Miami at the Academy.

  3. For crying out loud: it’s a plaster cast, not an original; it’s not in the Museum galleries, it’s in the courtyard of the Academia, the art school attached to the Museum, which is kind of like placing the cast in an American school-yard: I know, I’ve been in that yard when classes let out.

    This is Europe, where kids play soccer in the Roman ruins. Deal with it.

    Wölfflin Jack
    Editor for European Affairs
    WOID, a journal of visual language
    http://theorangepress.com/woid

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