Man confesses to attack on masterpiece

26th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

26 June 2006, AMSTERDAM — A 69-year-old man has confessed to the latest attempt to destroy a famous painting in Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum.

26 June 2006

AMSTERDAM —  A 69-year-old man has confessed to the latest attempt to destroy a famous painting in Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum.

A police spokesperson declined to identity the man or comment on his motive for the attack.

The man was spotted at about 5.30pm on Sunday as he sprayed a chemical substance at the 'Celebration of the peace of Munster' (1648) by Bartholomeus van der Helst. The painting is one of the main attractions at the museum.

Museum patrons saw the incident and alerted security officers who apprehended the man. The museum was closed as a precaution.

The painting was removed from show immediately and brought to the restoration department. No timeframe was given for the restoration work. But the Rijksmuseum said the damage was limited to the painting's coat of varnish. It is not clear what kind of substance was used in the attack.

The museum was open again by midday on Monday. The spot vacated by the damaged picture has been filled by a work by Frans Gals.

This is not the first time paintings in the Rijksmuseum have been targeted. A man, then 43, made a 5cm rip in Van der Hulst's portrait of Princess Maria Henriette Stuart (1652). The culprit said he was in personal difficulties and wanted to draw attention to his plight.

A year later a man, again with psychiatric problems, sprayed sulphuric acid at the world-famous Nightwatch (Nachtwacht) by Rembrandt van Rijn. Speedy intervention by a security officer limited the damage to the varnish. The attacker claimed to be a major art lover.

A Rotterdam man, 44, managed to take a painting by Arnold Boonen from the wall and fold it in two in March 1996.

The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam has also been troubled by vandals in recent years. The most famous case was the damaging of Barnett Newman's 'Who's afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III' in 1986. The frustrated Amsterdam artist, who appeared to be fixating on Newman, struck again in 1997 when he hacked with a knife at 'Cathedra' by Newman.

A work by Picasso was slashed with a knife in 1999. The culprit had earlier escaped from a psychiatric hospital.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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