Tourist breaks finger off 600-year-old statue

Last updated 15:13 08/08/2013

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A 600-year-old statue residing in a museum in Florence, Italy, has one less finger on its left hand thanks to an American tourist who came in contact with the artwork and broke off a digit.

The tourist, whose name has not been reported, allegedly broke off the left pinky finger of the statue while attempting to measure it.

The incident is thought to have been an accident, but officials in Italy questioned the American and are weighing what action to take.

Reports have described the tourist as a 55-year-old man from Missouri. 

The statue, which is thought to depict the Virgin Mary, dates from either the 14th or 15th century. It is part of a work titled "Annunciazione," located at Florence's Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, which contains a significant collection of sculptural artwork dating from the Renaissance and medieval periods.

One mitigating factor might be that the broken finger was not original to the statue. According to reports, the plaster digit was added to the work at some point after its completion.

Tim Verdun, director of the museum, has been quoted as saying that "in a globalized world like ours, the fundamental rules for visiting a museum have been forgotten, that is: Do not touch the works."

The statue is believed to be the creation of Giovanni d'Ambrogio, a Florentine sculptor who lived during the late medieval or early Renaissance periods.

- Los Angeles Times/MCT

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