Andrew Shannon entered the National Gallery of Ireland on June 29th, 2012. He walked around the gallery, stopped at a painting worth nearly $12 million, and put his fist through the painting.
49-year-old Andrew Shannon was sentenced to 5 years in prison for this egregious act of vandalism. He told the authorities that it was his way of "getting back at the state." After his prison release, he won't be allowed inside any galleries for 15 months.
The painting, "Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat," was by impressionist master Claude Monet. It was painted in 1874 and was purchased by Irish playwright and activist Edward Martyn in 1899. It has been in the National Gallery of Ireland since 1924.
Restoring the painting took 18 months to repair the three-pronged tear. First it was removed from the exhibition area and stabilized front to back before removing the frame.
The canvas was then repaired together from the back of the painting. A tissue cover was used to protect the delicate paint surface and temporarily strengthen the painting while the layers below are primed for repair.
With a high-powered microscope and very tiny, precise tools, the tear edges of the canvas were realigned, thread by thread.
Once the canvas was restored, the painting was flipped over, painting side up again. The protective tissue was removed with a tiny amount of moisture, exposing the paint again.
The damage to the painting was so extensive that a finely woven linen canvas material beam needed to be affixed to the back of the canvas for further support. A cushioning interlayer and thermoplastic adhesive fused the materials together.
The now stabilized painting was returned to the stretcher, using the original tack holes whenever possible. Then the work of dealing with the layers of paint began.
The areas where the paint fragments couldn't be reinserted were then filled in with a mixture of chalk and gelatine glue called gesso until it lay flush against the other layers. Finally, restoration artists applied layer by layer of watercolor paint to the exposed gesso area.
"Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat" made its grand re-entrance at the National Gallery of Ireland on July 1st, 2014.
Credit: Twisted Sifter