Man attacks Picasso painting in London gallery

The incident took place at London’s Tate Modern gallery. (AP pic)

LONDON: British police have charged a man with criminal damage after a painting, reported by the BBC to have been by Spanish master Pablo Picasso, was attacked at a London gallery over the weekend.

The incident happened on Saturday at the Tate Modern gallery when Picasso’s 1944 painting “Bust of a Woman”, worth some £20 million, was slashed the BBC said.

It said the work, which depicts Picasso’s lover Dora Maar and was painted in Paris in May 1944 during the final months of the Nazi occupation, was reported to have been ripped.

The gallery confirmed an incident had taken place but declined to identify the painting.

It said in a statement: “An incident occurred at Tate Modern on Dec 28 when a member of the public attempted to damage a painting.

“The person was swiftly apprehended and has been charged. Police are investigating. The work of art is with our conservation team for expert assessment.”

London’s Metropolitan police said in a statement on Tuesday that detectives investigating an incident of criminal damage at the Tate Modern on Dec 28 had charged a man.

Shakeel Massey, 20, appeared in court on Monday and was remanded in custody until Jan 30 when he will attend a pre-trial hearing at Inner London Crown Court.