Student Breaks 19th Century Statue In an Attempt to Grab a #Selfie


Selfies. We can’t seem to get enough of them. And while they’re somewhat awkward and obnoxious at times, they’re rather harmless, innocent and don’t cause any damage, right? Wrong. Or at least it was in the case of a student who reportedly broke an early 19th century statue in a museum (see update) in Milan, Italy.

According to TIME, he climbed upon the statue of the “Drunken Satyr” in an attempt to capture a selfie with the Hellenistic depiction. During his effort, though, he managed break off the leg of the statue.

For all the art historians who are about to suffer a massive coronary, you can ease up. According to the original report, the broken statue was an early 19th century COPY (no significant value) of the MUCH older original, which is located at the Glyptotek in Munich.

It’s unknown how much trouble the unnamed student is in. It’s also unknown whether he was actually able to capture the selfie before causing the damage. Rest assured though, if it was captured and makes its way online, we’ll be updating this article.

For now, you can content yourself by looking through a gallery of photos of the broken statue over on the Italian website Corriere della Sera, and deciding between the hashtags #smh and #facepalm for when you share this story.

(via TIME)

Update: Thanks to one of our Italian-speaking readers, Aezreth, we were able to garner some more information from the original article.

Apparently, this statue is in a school of fine arts, not a museum, and as it has no significant value was located in a hallway instead of one of the more protected rooms. The article also points out that the leg was already starting to come loose, and the statue was scheduled for restoration.

Image credits: Photo Illustration based on Barberini Faun public domain image.

  • Rob Gordon

    In the image of the statue with the broken leg there is graffiti on the plinth. Obviously there is a lack of security at this museum.

  • Jessica

    The Glyptothek, and thus the Sleeping Satyr (otherwise known as the barberini faun), is in Munich.

  • Pete

    Jesus, what an asshole!

  • Michael Ko


  • pedanticus the younger

    “The life-size[1] marble statue known as the Barberini Faun or Drunken Satyr is located in the Glyptothek in Munich, Germany.” -Wikipedia

    Where did you get Monaco?

  • Jack

    Why has the selfie not been published?

  • Aezreth

    I speak Italian and thus I could read the original article. First of all, the statue is in a school of fine arts, not a museum, there is no security per say. The principal at the school said this particular statue has no significant value and is therefore situated in the hallway instead of one of the inner, more protected, rooms. Also, Munich in Italian is “Monaco di Baviera” which is probably the reason for the confusion.

  • Beaugrand_RTMC

    Can’t fix stupid.

  • Joshua_Barnett

    The funny part for me was letting Google translate the Headline to,
    According to witnesses, the manager would be a foreign guy. But a technical problem does not have the security camera images

  • Wodan74

    No, there is only a lack in education.

  • DLCade

    Thank you for pointing that out Jessica, it’s been fixed!

  • DLCade

    Thank you for the clarification Aezreth, we appreciate it. And yes, that was indeed the reason for our confusion between Monaco and Munich, although it’s still a silly mistake to make.

  • Aezreth

    No problem, the original article also says the statue is assembled in parts, and the leg that broke off was already partly coming loose and was scheduled for restoration.

  • DLCade

    We’re updating the article right now. Would you like us to link your username to any particular website in the update?

  • Jack B. Siegel

    You certainly have the right to post the selfie if it should become available and you are comfortable with the copyright issues, but why would you? It might be funny, but by publishing that sort of image, you are just encouraging inappropriate behavior by giving a stupid and thoughtless person what they were seeking: A selfie that becomes an international story.

  • Aezreth

    That’s ok, but thanks for asking.

  • Stevebry56

    He climbed on a statue dating back to the early 19th century to take a selfie.

  • Burnin Biomass

    “Selfies. We can’t seem to get enough of them.”

    Yes, I can get enough of them.

  • Richard Lurie

    What copyright issue? PetaPixel wouldn’t claim they took the photo or try to sell it…

  • faecologicus

    Wow, you can read!

  • homicidicus

    Yes, you can, it’s illegal though…

  • Stevebry56

    yes i can.

  • davidscottg

    Student Breaks 19th Century Greco-Roman Statue While Taking a Selfie

  • Pete

    Too true! This would clearly fall under fair use. Now, bringing more attention to this issue could be seen as a double edge sword. If this does blow up I hope the selfie taker enjoys their infamy.

  • Jack B. Siegel

    Under U.S. copyright law, the author of a work has the exclusive right to control reproduction of that work. Anytime someone reproduces that work without a license from the copyright holder they face a legal issue–that does not mean they will lose a lawsuit, but they should address the issue. I did not say that there was a violation of the photographer’s copyright. I said there is an issue.

    If you review the case law, you will discover that reproduction of photographs by news organizations because the photographs have become newsworthy has been litigated on several occasions, demonstrating that there is an issue. By the way, attributing the photo to the author does not eliminate the fair use issue. It is also possible to violate someone’s copyright even if the reproduction does not involve a sale.

    The ease with which material can be copied on the Internet has made many people all too lax about fair use issues. And once again, I find it amusing that someone who is presumably a photographer to be so quick to defend the reproduction of another photographer’s work without that photographer’s permission.

  • Jack B. Siegel

    Thirty years ago, as a young associate, I told a partner in my law firm that a court would “clearly” rule in our favor. The partner responded, “I hope we are in that court.” As the years have gone by, I realize just how profound that admonition was. With legal questions of fact, there is rarely “clearly,” but there is litigation risk.

  • David Arthur

    agree to both.

  • SeoulFood

    …man that’s awesome!

  • faecologicus

    You must be some kind of genius!

  • Alessio Michelini

    Read the update, it wasn’t in a museum

  • GeraldPeake

    Has the broken copy now achieved ‘fine art’ status? Is the student better looking than the original statue? Was the copy there to teach copyright infringement? What will students get up to next? So many twists and turns in this selfie (hashtagged) non-story:)

  • Rob Gordon

    This was already pointed out in other comments.

  • Sean Walsh

    Events like this keep making me think social Darwinism might not be such a bad thing…

  • Sean Walsh

    Hi Jack – I’m curious, how would that work in this case, if the selfie photographer is in another country? Do the laws of the infringed party apply, or is it the laws of the country where the website is hosted? (Honest question; I’d like to know!) Thanks!

  • Jack B. Siegel

    I am tied up today and tomorrow, but I will try to post an answer over the weekend. Thanks

  • Richard Lurie

    Thank you for the thoughtful reply.

    How can I, as a photographer, be so casual about fair use? Because in this case, the photo itself is news-worthy. Among other things.