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Vandal Punches Hole in Monet

The four-inch-long rip is in the center of the painting, toward the right.
Mehdi Fedouach / AFP/Getty Images
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AFP/Getty Images
The four-inch-long rip is in the center of the painting, toward the right.

A Claude Monet painting, "The Argenteuil Bridge," survived two world wars and generations of viewing relatively unscathed, until Sunday. That's when a group of four men and a woman broke into the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and wandered around drunkenly among the priceless artworks before one of them stuck a fist through the 1874 impressionist masterpiece.

Now French authorities are calling for tougher penalties on people who damage works of art. Recent incidents there include the theft of chalices and plates from a cathedral, and the hammering of a sculpture. In July, a woman left a kiss mark on a white canvas by Cy Twombly.

In August, another Monet was stolen from a museum in Nice. Yesterday's vandalism happened during the annual "White Night" arts and music festival. The five vandals got away.

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