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Taiwan boy stumbles, punches hole through $1.5 million painting

A boy in Taiwan stumbled and accidentally punched a fist-sized hole through a 17th-century Italian painting valued at more than $1.5 million, the exhibition's organizers said.

Surveillance video released by the organizers show the beverage-toting 12-year-old boy walking among a group looking at the oil painting "Flowers" by Italian master Paolo Porpora. As the group begins walking away, he can be seen stumbling over a rope barrier directly into the masterpiece's canvas.

"The painting's bottom right is damaged," organizer Sun Chi-hsuan told reporters. "The boy's hand made contact with the artwork and left a hole the size of a fist."

The Taipei Times reported that the painting was restored and put back on display on Tuesday, according to organizers. The boy's family was not asked to pay for the restoration costs of the painting, which was insured, according to Focus Taiwan news channel.

At least one Taipei resident blamed the exhibition organizers for the mishap.

"I think that painting should have been displayed behind glass, because displaying it in the open is very dangerous," Lee Yi-fan told Reuters. "There's just nothing to protect the painting as people go up to it and carelessly touch it. Because a lot of (people) will be looking at it."

The exhibition -- "The Face of Leonardo, Images of a Genius" - showcases dozens of paintings by artists from the Italian Renaissance period to the 20th century, organizers said.

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