The renowned painting ‘Ivan the Terrible Killing His Son’ was attacked by a visitor of Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery and suffered “serious damage.” The vandal later told the police that a shot of vodka was to blame for his actions.
The incident occurred late on Friday when the gallery was about to close down for visitors. A man rushed through the staff into an empty hall and delivered several blows to Ilya Repin’s painting, using a metallic fence poll.
The protective glass broke and the work of art “suffered serious damage,” the Tretyakov Gallery said in a statement. The canvas was torn in three places, while the original frame of the painting was also crippled.
The vandal was arrested and may now face up to three years in prison on charges of “damaging or destroying the objects of cultural heritage.” The painting has been removed from the exposition in order for restoration work to be carried out. There has so far been no announcement on when it will become available for visitors again.
The perpetrator was identified by the police as Igor Podporin, a homeless man who arrived in Moscow from the city of Voronezh in central Russia.
“I came to check the painting out. I was about to leave, but decided to visit the cafeteria and drank 100 grams of vodka. I don’t drink vodka – and, somehow, I lost it,” Podporin said during the interrogation. The man also told the officers that he disagreed with the author and thought that the painting should be destroyed because it is historically inaccurate.
The 1885 work by Repin, which is also known as “Ivan the Terrible and His Young Son Ivan on November 16, 1581,” shows the controversial Russian tsar seconds after he delivered a lethal wound to his own son in a fit of rage. It was bought from Repin by Pavel Tretyakov himself the same year, and since then it has been one of the most important exhibits of the Tretyakov Gallery.
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In 1913, ‘Ivan the Terrible Killing His Son’ became the first painting to be attacked in the history of Russian art. Back then, a mentally disturbed person, shouting: “No more blood!” cut the canvas with a knife, which led to 12 years of restoration work.
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