Punch a $10 million painting and get away with it

Ever wanted to punch a painting? I don’t mean a pre-schoolers’ red-blobbed masterpiece of their family. We’re talking a painting hung with a lavish golden frame in an art gallery, the type that people swan around with fingers curled to their chins, thoughts swirling with admiration. That type of painting. Wanna punch one?

Yeah? Good—now you can, by playing the honestly titled browser game Punch a Monet. You can, as it says, walk up to Claude Monet’s $10 million painting “Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat” and, with a brazen fist, punch it. Again, and again, and again.

leave all of life’s frustrations to fester in the cracked skin of Monet’s paints 

You can watch from behind your violent appendage as a thrilling catharsis erupts inside your cranium, as why else would you do this, if it weren’t for emptying your stresses? The fragile canvas rips with expensive wounds with each crashing impact. And a “Damage” counter tells you how many millions of dollars your savage efforts mount up to.

After you leave all of life’s frustrations to fester in the cracked skin of Monet’s paints, you may question where this game came from, right? Well, you’ll probably refresh the page a few times to magically restore the painting so you can destroy it all over again. But once that’s out of your system, there are certainly questions that coil into your thoughts, such as “why does this exist?” It may seem a bit too specific of a fetish to have simply blossomed without context, you may think, and you’d be right.

Punch a Monet was designed by Tom Galle, Dries Depoorter, and Eiji Muroichi, who are known collectively as PARTY New York. They’ve been keeping a keen eye on the news and it’s from this that Punch a Monet came about.

You see, last week, 49-year-old Andrew Shannon was sentenced to six years in jail for putting a three-branch tear in Monet’s painting with his fist—the same one you’ve been smacking inside the game. So, yeah, it’s a simulator in a way. Shannon did this back in 2012 inside the National Gallery of Ireland before shouting at some of the gallery’s visitors, and then being apprehended by a security guard.

He claimed at the time that he was getting back at the state by damaging the painting. But later, nearer to the time of his court appearance, Shannon reckoned that he felt faint and accidentally fisted the artwork. Given that the whole act was caught on CCTV and paint remover was found in his bag, it’s no surprise that the jury deliberated for only 90 minutes before giving the guilty verdict.

So let that be a lesson to you: if you want to rebel against the state by punching art it’s probably best that you do it inside a videogame. Oh, and don’t worry, the original Monet painting was soon restored to its former quality after it was vandalized.   

You can play Punch a Monet for free in your browser.