The young man was accused of causing damage after he reportedly damaged a painting by Pablo Picasso worth £20 million. The incident took place at the Tate Modern Gallery in London on December 29, 2019. The “victim” of the vandal was a portrait painted 75 years ago.
On Monday, 20-year-old Shakeel Massey, who lives in north-west London, was brought before the world court at Camberwell Green. He said he would deny the charges.
The painting “Bust of a Woman” has been removed from the exhibition and is assessed by conservation experts. The Tate Modern refused to comment on the state of the painting. A gallery spokesperson merely said that a man had tried to damage the portrait and had been “quickly detained”.
The police of the British capital said: “Detectives investigating the damage incident in the Tate Modern on Saturday 28 December accused the man. Massey was denied bail, and he was detained pending a pre-trial hearing on 30 January.
The “Bust of a Woman” was created in Paris in 1944 during the Nazi occupation. The semi-abstract work depicts Dora Maar, who was then Picasso’s beloved. She is shown sitting on a metal chair wearing a hat and green clothes.
The Tate Modern is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Britain, which in 2018 received almost 5.9 million people. The gallery offers a number of free exhibitions and an extensive collection of world-famous works of art.
In 2012 the gallery was damaged valuable painting by Mark Rothko, for which the vandal was sentenced to two years in prison. Vladimir Umanets painted his name and the statement of the visual movement “Yellowouvism”, claiming that it was an act of art.