Italian 18th-century oil painting damaged by champagne cork
An Italian manager causes at least €1,000 of damage opening a bottle of fizzy spumante by sending its cork sailing straight through a valuable 18th century oil painting
An Italian manager who was asked to crack open a bottle of fizzy spumante was horrified to see the cork sail straight through a valuable 18th century oil painting.
The cork shot out of the bottle and left a bullet-like hole in the canvas of the painting, which depicts a battle scene with knights in armour astride prancing horses.
The unfortunate incident, which has just come to light, happened a few days before Christmas when Roberto Cassago was asked to open the bottle of sparkling wine during a party held in council offices in Milan.
But as he popped the cork, the celebratory mood in Palazzo Isimbardi, which houses Milan’s provincial government, turned to shock as party-goers surveyed the damage to the huge painting, which is by an unknown artist.
It could all have turned out so differently — it was only by chance that he was passing an open door and was invited to join the party.
In his defence Mr Cassago, 71, a council official, said he was virtually tee-total and was not used to opening bottles of wine.
The damage is now being inspected by insurance assessors, with the repair bill expected to come to at least €1,000.
Mr Cassago has said that if the council’s insurance policy does not cover the damage, he will pay for the repairs himself.
“We’re awaiting a response from the insurance company but if they don’t pay, then I’ll have to dip into my own pocket,” he told La Stampa newspaper.
He said it would be one of his last acts because he will soon retire. He would be careful not to make the same mistake at his leaving party.
“This time I’ll get someone else to open the bottle.”