Oops: Tourist Snaps Finger Off 600-Year-Old Statue

Handsy American may face heavy fine

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 6, 2013 11:12 PM CDT | Updated Aug 7, 2013 12:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – A clumsy tourist from Missouri is in for plenty of finger-wagging from the art world after accidentally snapping a digit off a 600-year-old statue in a museum in Florence, Italy. The 55-year-old was holding his hand against the statue's palm when a finger snapped off, NBC reports. The man apologized but may still be hit with a heavy fine for damaging the work by medieval sculptor Giovanni d'Ambrogio.

The museum's director—an American himself—blasted the tourist's behavior, saying "in a globalized world like ours, the fundamental rules for visiting a museum have been forgotten, that is, 'Do not touch the works,'" the Independent reports. But this is nothing new for the statue: The little finger snapped off by the tourist was itself a plaster replacement for the original marble finger, which was broken off many years ago.

This 1397 statue by Giovanni d'Ambrogio, seen before the finger-snapping, was not asking for a high-five.
This 1397 statue by Giovanni d'Ambrogio, seen before the finger-snapping, was not asking for a high-five.   (Sailko/Wikimedia Commons)
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