A tourist from the United States was arrested in Rome for throwing and breaking two ancient Roman sculptures displayed in one of the Vatican Museums, police announced Thursday.
The incident took place in the Chiaramonte Museum Wednesday. The tourist, a 65-year-old man, appeared to be “psychologically distressed” while in custody. He was given an aggravated property damage charge and released, according to Italian authorities.
“He smashed the two busts to the ground, one after the other,” Director of the Press Office for Vatican Museums Matteo Alessandrini told The Washington Post.
The sculptures were of two heads from the ancient city of Rome. One is of an elderly man and the other is of a younger man.
“The busts were affixed to shelves with a nail but if you pull them down with force they will come off. He pulled down one and then the other and the guards came immediately and stopped him and consigned him to the Vatican police who brought him in for questioning,” Alessandrini told CNN.
“The 2 busts have been damaged but not particularly badly. One lost part of a nose and an ear, the head of the other came off the pedestal,” he added.
The broken pieces of the sculptures have been taken to the museum’s restoration lab and will be reassembled by technicians. The damage will take an estimated 300 hours to fix, Alessandrini explained.