365 Days of Art: June 25 – Serial Art Attacker Ignites Painting

Banquet of the Amsterdam Civic Guard in Celebration of the Peace of Münster, 1648, by Bartholomeus van der Helst

June 25, 2006

Serial art attacker Hans-Joachim Bohlmann pours lighter fluid on the painting Banquet of the Amsterdam Civic Guard in Celebration of the Peace of Münster (1648) by Bartholomeus van der Helst and sets fire to it. Luckily, most damage occurs in the varnish layer, where it’s easier to treat. Bohlmann is sentenced to three years for this particular crime, though it’s not his first prison sentence for damaging works of art, since he’s been at it since 1977. This is thought to be his last attack though: he dies of cancer about six months after being released from prison.