The red aerosol paint that a vandal sprayed across Nicolas Poussin’s masterpiece, The Adoration of the Golden Calf, last Sunday, may cost the National Gallery much more than the price of its restoration.
The “blockbuster” Leonardo da Vinci exhibition that the museum is due to stage later this year is now in jeopardy as galleries which had agreed to lend precious works question security levels.
Olga Jaros, the newly appointed chairman of the Princes Czartoryski Foundation in Poland, which had agreed to provide Lady with an Ermine, one of only four female portraits by Da Vinci, says there needs to be a “thorough debate” before it leaves Krakow.
The National admits that its staff must now guard two rooms each in at least one third of the gallery after budget cuts.
“We were already considering extending the arrangements where an assistant invigilates more than one room, prior to needing to identify savings,” says its spokesman. It insists its security “is in keeping” with that of other museums.