Samuel Johnson Portrait Attacked with Hammer

ArtDaily has reported that a portrait by Joshua Reynolds of Samuel Johnson has been attack by a homeless man wielding a hammer at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The 44 year old Mark Paton admitted to repeatedly hitting the painting with a hammer, which has been estimated to be worth about 1.7 million pounds. It’s unsure why he did it though as he didn’t have anything against the painter or the sitter of the portrait.

samuel johnson portrait by joshua reynolds

“The glass was broken and part of the canvas beneath damaged. We will not know until next week the cost of the repair. Because of the fame of the sitter and the artist it is one of the most important parts of the collection. It is a criminal investigation so we cannot speculate on the motive” Art Daily

Samuel Johnson is probably one of the most quoted people around, so here’s some quotes by the man..

I love the following quote about critics.. or insects as he refers to them..

A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.” Samuel Johnson

“A man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself.” Samuel Johnson

“Wine makes a man more pleased with himself. I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.” Samuel Johnson

“Life is a progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment.” Samuel Johnson

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Samuel Johnson

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” Samuel Johnson

“It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. The act of dying is not of importance, it lasts so short a time.” Samuel Johnson

There’s more quotes and a biography of Samuel Johnson here.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Good quotes. I like the wine one.

  2. Seems that the bag checks at the galleries aren’t much good

  3. Yeah, that’s all we need.. more checks at art galleries before we enter.

    We’ll have to arrive an hour earlier than we want to view a painting because of security checks and lengthy delays

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