Man attacks ‘Ivan the Terrible’ painting with a pole in Moscow
Drunk on vodka, a man attacked one of Russia’s most famous paintings with a pole, badly damaging the artwork.
The painting, “Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581”, was created by Ilya Repin, one of Russia’s most famous 19th century artists, and housed at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Painted in 1885, the piece depicts Ivan the Terrible — czar of Russia from 1547 to 1584 — consoling his son after having dealt him a mortal blow in a fit of rage.
The 37-year-old man — one of the last visitors to the museum — entered just before the museum closed, according to a statement by the Tretyakov Gallery. Armed with a pole from one of the painting’s barriers, the man struck the glass case protecting the piece several times.
“The picture is badly damaged. The canvas was broken in three places in the central part of the image on the figure of the prince. The artist’s original frame was badly damaged by falling glass,” the museum said in a statement.
The painting may have been badly damaged, but the face and hands of Ivan and his son were left untouched. Museum employees detained the man before he was able to cause any more damage to the art piece and handed him over to the police, according to the Tretyakov Gallery.
Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs spokeswoman Irina Volk confirmed the incident in a statement, saying “a man had been arrested in connection with the defacing of the painting. He has been charged with damage or destruction of an object of cultural heritage”.
Museum curators and restorers arrived shortly after the incident to evaluate the painting’s damage. With the help of leading Russian specialists, the museum hopes to restore the piece.
State television showed police footage of the unnamed suspect, who said he decided to attack the painting after downing vodka in the gallery’s buffet.
“I wanted to leave, but then dropped into the buffet and drank 100 grams of vodka,” he said. “I don’t drink vodka and became overwhelmed by something.”