When thousands of rioters ransacked massive government buildings in Brazil on Sunday, political leaders condemned the grave attack on the country’s democratic fabric.
In waves of green and yellow, thousands of far-right supporters of Brazil’s former leader, Jair Bolsonaro, have wreaked havoc on Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace in Brasilia, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
But the three buildings also contained a rich collection of art, some of which was damaged beyond repair. The government mourned the loss of key parts of the art collection, which it said represented an important chapter in its national history.
The value of what has been destroyed is immeasurable because of the history it represents. The collection is a representation of all the presidents who have represented the Brazilian people during this long period starting with JK [Juscelino Kubitschek, president from 1956 to 1961]. This is their historical value,” said the Director of the Guard in the Presidential Palaces, Ruggero Carvalho.
Artifacts destroyed by rioters include:
Like a Mulata, by Emiliano di Cavalcanti
The Mulata painting by Emiliano di Cavalcanti was also found perforated in seven places. The government said it was worth at least R$8 million (£1.2m, $1.5m).
Bandera do Brasil, by Jorge Eduardo
Bandera do Brasil, a painting of the flag of Brazil, is displayed on the ground floor of the Presidential Palace. The artwork was found soaked in water after rioters flooded the floor with fire hydrants.
Oh Flutista, by Bruno Giorgi
The bronze statue, valued at 250,000 riyals, was destroyed, and pieces of it were scattered in the hall of the third floor of the presidential palace.
Wood carvings by Franz Krajschberg
The demonstrators broke the branches of this piece of wood and threw it away. The piece is estimated at three hundred thousand riyals.
Mr. Krajcberg was originally from Poland but ended up in Brazil after World War II. His entire family died in a concentration camp.
Chairs designed by Polish architect and designer Jorge Zalzubin
The benches, which were used by members of the Federal Supreme Court, were reportedly torn from the floor, and a video on social media shows them being thrown into the street.
Mr. Zalzubin was a Jew born in Warsaw who survived the Holocaust by fleeing to Romania before moving to Brazil – and was considered one of the most important designers in the country.
Desk used by Brazilian President Juscelino Kubitschek, the Brazilian leader who ordered the construction of Brasília
The government said the rioters used the table as a barricade. Her general condition has not yet been evaluated.
Table presentation by Sergio Rodrigues
The glass viewing window, which contained information on the acting president, was shattered.
Balthazar Martinot watch
The 17th-century grandfather of Balthasar Martinot (1636-1714) – Louis XIV watchmaker – was a gift from France to King Dom João IV, who ruled Brazil and Portugal.
According to the Brazilian government, there are only two Martinot-designed watches like this in the world.
“The other one is on display in the Palace of Versailles, but it is half the size of the piece, which was completely destroyed by the invaders,” the government said in a statement.
An art specialist said the damage was irreparable.