I’m not a “selfie” person, and I shudder when I see “selfie sticks”, those things look like cattle prods to me. I don’t see the virtue in constantly taking photos of yourself, but if that’s what makes you happy, go for it. Just leave the art out of it. A great deal of art work gets damaged by those seeking selfie perfection in the never-ending I can top that! selfie competition. The latest victim to selfie-ism is a statue of Dom Sebastiao, who ruled Portugal from 1557 to 1578, at Lisbon’s Rossio train station.
The 126-year-old statue shattered after a 24-year-old man reportedly knocked it over while climbing on it to take a photograph. The suspect, who has not been named, is said to have attempted to flee the scene before being apprehended by police.
A spokesperson for Infrastructure Portugal told the Daily Mail that he did not know when the statue would be repaired. Before the unfortunate incident, the sculpture was perched in a niche between two doorways at the station, which is a protected monument.
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Last May, a pair of tourists damaged a statue of Hercules in the northern Italian city of Cremona while taking a photograph with it. In 2014, an Italian student tried to pose sitting in the lap of a 19th-century cast of an ancient work at Milan’s Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, only to smash the sculpture in the process.
Some museums have taken steps to protect their art by banning selfie sticks, which extend the reach of the photographer, and may increase the likelihood of inadvertently striking a work of art. (Even without selfies, accidents happen, like the boy who lost his balance and punched $1.5 million painting, or the woman who tripped and smashed an ancient Greek vase.)