Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze “Washington Crossing the Delaware” (1851) / taped paper
In January 2003, this painting was defaced while on view at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. According to reports, Robert Gray, 41—formerly with the agency that provides security to the Metropolitan and the Cloisters, and who authorities said is emotionally disturbed - glued a picture of the twin towers to the bottom of the famous Revolutionary War scene.
Gray told police he was fixated on the painting’s American flag, which to him symbolized Satan. Gray had a rambling letter he wanted delivered to the United Nations in which he called himself a “light blob induced artist.”"He feels, in essence, that terrorists are controlling him through encrypted messages,” a law enforcement source said. “He did say he used Elmer’s glue because it’s water-soluble and he didn’t want to ruin the painting.”
Gray was charged with criminal mischeif; true to his intentions, the painting did not suffer any meaningful physical damage.