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August 20, 2019

Russian man wrecks museum’s priceless painting of Ivan the Terrible after drinking vodka

May 27, 2018
“Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16th, 1581,” a 19th century painting by Ilya Repin, was attacked at Moscow’s State Tretaykov Gallery on Friday. (Ilya Repin/Wikimedia Commons)

A rogue in a Russian art gallery was arrested after he “seriously damaged” a priceless painting of Ivan the Terrible.

Igor Podporin was at the State Tretyakov Museum in Moscow just before closing Friday evening when he picked up a security pole and bashed the protective glass around the painting “Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan”.

The 19th century work by Ilya Repin — a visually arresting large-scale canvas depicting the medieval tsar clutching the son he mortally wounded — had been “seriously damaged,” Tretyakov officials said in a statement.

It added that the painting had been punctured in three places around the figure of the son, but that the most valuable part of the work —the faces of the pair — was left intact.

Podporin, a 37-year-old from the city of Voronezh, was arrested and appeared later on a Russian police video where he acknowledged lashing out against a painting that is considered a part of Russian history.

He said that he went to the museum specifically to look at the masterpiece and drank 100 grams — roughly three shots — of vodka before his outburst, adding that he doesn’t normally drink vodka and was “taken over” by something.

Igor Podporin admitted to damaging the painting.
Igor Podporin admitted to damaging the painting. (Russian Interior Ministry)

Podporin “became indignant” about the contents of the picture, reports from court proceedings on Saturday said.

He faces a vandalism case and up to three years in prison, according to state media.

Repin’s painting has been moved to the Tretaykov’s restoration workshop.

It is not the first time that the work has been attacked, and that the artist repaired it himself after a religious icon painter attacked it with a knife in 1913.

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