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Woman faces charges of kissing Twombly's painting

A woman was tried for kissing a painting by American artist Cy Twombly, smudging the all-white canvas worth an estimated 2 million EUR(US$2,830,000).

Rindy Sam, a 30-year-old French artist who faced charges of "voluntarily damaging a work of art," called the smooch an "act of love."

"I didn't think. When I kissed it, I thought the artist would have understood," Sam told the court, in the southern French city of Avignon.

But prosecutors did not see it that way. They requested Sam be fined 4,500 EUR(US$6,400) and required to take a class on good citizenship. The verdict was set for Nov. 16.

Sam was taken into custody after she kissed the painting on July 19. It was part of a traveling exhibition on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Avignon.

Restorers have tried to remove the lipstick smudge from the bone-white canvas using nearly 30 products - to no avail.

The painting is owned by collector Yvon Lambert. He was asking for 2,033,400 EUR(US$2,878,000) in damages, which included the value of the painting and the 33,400 EUR(US$47,000) restoration costs.

Twombly is known for his abstract paintings combining painting and drawing techniques, repetitive lines and the use of graffiti, letters and words. Born in Lexington, Virginia in 1928, Twombly has lived in Italy for nearly a half-century. He won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale in 2001.

Paris police, meanwhile, jailed five people in connection with the weekend vandalism of a noted painting by French Impressionist Claude Monet, "Le Pont d'Argenteuil."

Intruders, apparently drunk, broke into Paris' Orsay Museum early Sunday and punched the renowned work, leaving a 10-centimeter (nearly 4-inch) tear. The five were tracked on evidence from museum security cameras, police said. One person admitted to putting a fist in the painting under the influence of alcohol, police said.

The intruders had entered by a back door. Culture Minister Christine Albanel said in a statement that apparently one in the group had information about various accesses of the museum for professional reasons and used this information to enter. The minister did not say whether any of those detained worked for the museum.

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