AMSTERDAM — An unemployed man, described by police as confused, sprayed Rembrandt's famous painting "The Night Watch" with an unidentified chemical Friday, but museum officials said damage was minimal.
It was the second attack on the priceless art work in nearly 15 years, and the third this century.
Dutch television said the spray was concentrated sulfuric acid, but museum officials would not confirm the report.
Immediately after the attack, a museum guard applied a neutralizing agent, and the damage to the 1642 masterpiece appeared limited to surface veneer, said Piet van Thiel, the Rijkmuseum's director of paintings.
Museum guards seized the attacker and handed him over to police, according to another museum official. The painting is guarded round-the-clock by an unarmed security company worker.
Police said they did not know what prompted the attack.
Museum spokesman Klaas Wilting said the 31-year-old suspect is a Dutch national from The Hague. The man was not identified by name in line with police policy and is being held on suspicion of vandalism.