On his first day on the job, a security guard at an art gallery in west-central Russia was dismissed for defacing a rare artwork. Because he was “bored,” the guard allegedly pulled out a ballpoint pen and sketched eyes on two of the three faceless characters in the piece of art. He lost his job because he wanted to do something other than safeguarding the gallery’s artworks from similar vandalism. The picture was on exhibit at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center in Yekaterinburg, west-central Russia, when it was ruined. Two exhibition visitors noticed the additional embellishments on the sculptures and informed a museum staffer.
Experts think the artwork can be restored to its original state without causing long-term harm, and they are already working on it. The renovation is expected to cost roughly 2,50,000 Russian Rubles (around 2.5 lakhs).
The security guard faces a vandalism accusation that carries a fine of 40,000 Russian Rubles (about $40,000) as well as a one-year prison term. The police said last week that they had begun an inquiry.
“We inform you that during the investigation, the person who painted the eyes on the figures in the painting by Anna Leporskaya was identified – this is an employee of a private security organisation that carries out security activities for the Yeltsin Center,” the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center said in a statement released on Tuesday.
“Recall that on December 7, 2021, at the opening of the exhibition ‘The World as Non-Objectivity,’ A painting by Anna Leporskaya, ‘Three Figures’ (1932–1934), from the State Tretyakov Gallery, was damaged at the exhibition ‘The Birth of a New Art’ in the Art Gallery of the Yeltsin Center.
“A ballpoint pen was used to cause the damage.’
The Center went on to say: “The next day, the piece was assessed by a restorer from the State Tretyakov Gallery and delivered to Moscow. The picture is being restored; according to the expert, the damage may be removed without affecting the piece of art.