July 01, 2018

War on Art

in what is only the latest twist in an ongoing cultural debate about the role of Ivan the Terrible in Russian history, a man visiting Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery vandalized the well-known painting by Ilya Repin, Ivan the Terrible and his Son Ivan. In the painting, the infamous tsar is depicted moments after fatally striking his son, cradling his bloody head in grief.

Igor Podporin, a 37-year-old visiting Moscow from Voronezh Province, approached the painting just before closing time and used a metal barrier pole to smash the glass covering the canvas. The attack caused cuts to the canvas, though not to the most delicate areas of the figures’ faces and hands.

Podporin was swiftly arrested and explained his actions as a quest for historical justice. “Because it’s false. [Ivan the Terrible] is a canonized saint,” he said.

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