• Short Summary

    The man who smashed Michelangelo's statue, Pieta, at St Peter's in rome in 1972 was whisked to a psychiatric clinic for observation on his arrival back in Australia.

  • Description

    The man who smashed Michelangelo's statue, Pieta, at St Peter's in rome in 1972 was whisked to a psychiatric clinic for observation on his arrival back in Australia.

    Hungarian born migrant Lazlo Toth, a 35-year-old Sydney factory worker, was escorted from Sydney Airport to Callan Park hospital on return from Rome where he was held in a mental institution.

    Toth was deported from Italy as an undesirable alien after spending nearly three years in psychiatric centres. Toth broke off the left arm of Michelangelo's Virgin Mary, smashed the left eye and cheek, clipped the veil over the head and partially removed the nose in a wild attack with a hammer in May 1972.

    It took Vatican Museum experts six months to restore the Pieta, which is now protected by a bullet proof shield.

    As he attacked the statue, Toth shouted "I am Jesus Christ". He repeated this claim at an airport interview in Rome, where a Qantas pilot refused to fly him back to Australia unless he was placed under guard.

    Toth was examined at Callan Park by four Sydney psychiatrists, who failed to agree about his sanity. The Acting Medical Superintendent at Callan Park, Dr A.L. X Slater, said two psychiatrists felt Toth had recovered from the psychotic illness he suffered in Rome. But other examinations showed Toth had underlying problems which required further treatment.

    Toth was later allowed to see friends in Sydney pending more examinations and his future is clouded.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVABVJ3A7E76WGDWF63G3SKAAU72
    Media URN:
    VLVABVJ3A7E76WGDWF63G3SKAAU72
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    31/01/1975
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:03:29:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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