Tourist falls in Rome's Borghese Gallery and damages Guido Reni painting

Visitor falls on 17th-century canvas in Galleria Borghese.

Rome museum experts on Thursday were assessing the damage caused to a painting by Baroque master Guido Reni after a visitor to Galleria Borghese fell against the 17th-century canvas.

The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon when the tourist, described in Italian news reports as an elderly American woman, fell onto Reni's painting of St Francis receiving the stigmata.

Galleria Borghese said in a statement that the visitor "collapsed suddenly, probably due to an illness", causing a "slight superficial laceration" to the painting which was "cordoned off promptly".

The large-scale work, which dates to 1610 and belongs to the city of Rome, suffered a three-centimetre tear close to the frame in the lower section of the canvas, the statement said.

Several Italian newspapers including Corriere della Sera cited a "problematic" low barrier in front of the work which, according to custodians and tour guides, has caused numerous falls recently.

The painting is part of the exhibition Guido Reni and Rome: Nature and Devotion, curated by the gallery's director Francesca Cappelletti, on display until 22 May.

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Address Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5, 00197 Roma RM, Italy

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Tourist falls in Rome's Borghese Gallery and damages Guido Reni painting

Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5, 00197 Roma RM, Italy