Security Guard Accused Of Drawing Eyes On Russian Gallery’s Painting

A security guard at a Russian art gallery is reportedly facing criminal charges after being accused of drawing eyes on an avant-garde painting from the 1930s that he had been hired to protect.

“Three Figures” by Soviet artist Anna Leporskaya was on loan to the Yeltsin Center in Ekaterinburg when the guard drew eyes on two of the painting’s eyeless figures using a ballpoint pen, the center said Tuesday.

Exhibition curator Anna Reshetkina told Russian website ura.ru that it was the guard’s first day on the job, the BBC reported .

“His motives are still unknown but the administration believes it was some kind of a lapse in sanity,” she said.

The painting, which was reportedly insured for roughly $1 million, was sent to Moscow for restoration. The center said the damage can be repaired.

The vandalism was first noticed by two visitors in early December who then alerted a gallery employee. The Yeltsin Center reported the damage to police later that month but it was deemed “insignificant” by Ekaterinburg’s ministry of internal affairs, which declined to press charges. A criminal investigation was opened last week after the ministry of culture complained to the prosecutor general’s office, The Guardian reported, citing Russian news outlets.

The guard could face a fine and three months in prison if convicted of vandalizing the art, the BBC reported.

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