LONDON.- Mark Paton, 44, has plead guilty to attacking Reynolds' portrait of 18th-century diarist and lexicographer Samuel Johnson with a hammer at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The painting is worth around 1.7 million pound. Mark Paton, a homeless man, repeatedly hit the work of art and later admitted criminal damage and possession of a hammer with intent to cause criminal damage during a hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates Court. The gallery said it was confident the painting could be repaired.
Defense lawyer Euan MacMillan said, He has nothing against Sir Joshua Reynolds or Samuel Johnson, the subject of the painting, MacMillan said.
District Judge Quentin Purdy ordered Paton to undergo psychiatric tests before sentencing.
Catherine Bromley, a spokeswoman, said, "The glass was broken and part of the canvas beneath damaged. We will not know until next week the cost of the repair. Because of the fame of the sitter and the artist it is one of the most important parts of the collection. It is a criminal investigation so we cannot speculate on the motive."