Two Nicolas Poussin Paintings Attacked, Damaged at London’s National Gallery

It’s perhaps proving not to be a good year to be a piece of art hanging on a museum wall. Just a few months after Andres Serranos‘ infamous and fairly-used-to-attacks “Piss Christ” was destroyed in France by a group of protestors wielding a hammer and an ice pick, and before that the attempted-but-failed attack on a Gauguin at Washington DC’s National Gallery of Art, this weekend saw “The Adoration of the Golden Calf” and “The Adoration of the Shepherds”, both by Nicolas Poussin, damaged at the National Gallery in London at the hands of a sole assailant. The Guardian reports that a man walked into the space wherein the painting was hung, defaced its lower half with a can of red spray paint, yelled something in French (presumably explaining why he had just done what he’d done), and then stood there waiting to be apprehended, which the authorities were more than happy to do. Thus far, the man’s identity hasn’t been released, nor his reason for the attack (apparently he picked the wrong time to yell in French when there were no French speakers in earshot). However, the paper quotes a visitor who witnessed the whole thing who speculates that it was “Maybe a protest at the nakedness of the painting. He covered it all.”