American tourist smashes two sculptures in the Vatican
A statue of St. Joseph was destroyed after a tourist smashed it with a hammer outside the Vatican.
The bronze statue by the German artist Otto Wagner was toppled early in the morning outside of the church of St. Peters, Rome. It had been set up by an Italian sculptor from Rome, who had put up the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul in the Vatican.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the statue was on a pedestal in the courtyard of the church when the visitor “smashed the head and destroyed the statue.” The Vatican said the statue was “completely destroyed,” and “it is hard to estimate the damage to the sculpture.”
The damage was not serious. The statues were only 10 years old and were made in the 1970s.
“There was no risk for anyone near the statue,” Lombardi said in a statement. “It was smashed in the act of vandalism outside the church” and only a few days ago “the statue, made of bronze, was reassembled and was ready to be exhibited.”
It is hard to know the exact damage to the statue. The hammer hit a piece of marble, Lombardi said, adding: “The statue is completely destroyed.”
For two years, the statue had been on display next to another statue, known as the “Moses” statue, which was put there in 1849 by Napoleon after the famous biblical story of Moses carrying the Ten Commandments.
Lombardi said the statue was “an important symbol of the Vatican,” adding it had been moved to its new display.
“A person who committed a criminal act and destroyed a statue of St. Joseph is not a Christian,” Lombardi said.
A statue of St. Peter by the German artist Otto Wagner was toppled early Sunday outside the church of St. Peter in Vatican City — but its precise damage is hard to determine.
Wagner’s bronze sculpture of St. Peter was toppled, though withstood heavy blows, at noon local time Sunday outside the church where the statue had been installed.
The statue, which was put up a few months ago by a local sculptor, had taken part in