A man named Andrew Shannon visited The National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin on June 29, 2012. Once inside, Shannon walked up to a Monet painting worth $12 million and punched a hole clean through the canvas. Immediately afterward, Shannon screamed at those in the museum who witnessed the incident, telling them to stay away from him because he had a heart condition. Shannon claimed later that he "felt faint" and had fallen into the painting.
A museum security guard restrained Shannon immediately after the incident, finding a can of paint stripper on him in the process. Security cameras caught the crime on video; after a jury viewed the footage last month, they deliberated for only 90 minutes before returning with a guilty verdict. Shannon was sentenced to five years in jail for defacing the painting, entitled Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat and created in 1874.
When Andrew Shannon's home was raided by police, they found other stolen art pieces worth nearly $150,000. Some of the thefts dated back to the 1980s. A source at the Dublin Crown Court told the Irish Mirror,
“Shannon was a big threat to society, He has a corrupt perversion of the mind, [he is] a complete sociopath."
Restoration experts set to work on the process of repairing the painting, a complicated operation that took 18 months. The lengthy reconstruction began with laying the painting flat, paint side down on a layer of tissue to protect it. The canvas was removed from the frame and the torn section had to be aligned and rejoined in a painstaking, multi-step procedure involving a high-powered microscope.
Read about the repair in detail and see photos of each step, as well as the finished restoration, here.
Images: The National Gallery of Ireland