On May 25th, Igor Podporin, a 37-year-old Russian who had a bit too much to drink, took a metal pole and attacked one of Russia’s most famous works of art, Ilya Repin’s Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581. Painted in 1885, the painting depicts Ivan holding his son after killing him in a fit of rage and has been compared in importance, by Russian curators, to da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. I am not sure I would go that far, but who am I to argue with them?
According to reports, the drunk Podporin shouted something at the time of his attack to the effect that Ivan the Terrible did not kill his son. A security video from Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery shows Podporin drinking 3-4 oz. of vodka in the gallery’s café, grabbing a metal security pole and striking the canvas. The museum is now considering options to prevent future incidents, like no longer serving alcoholic beverages and placing the work behind bulletproof glass. That is all well and good, but are they going to put every work of art behind glass?
Vladimir Aristarkhov, the deputy culture minister, is pushing to see penalties for similar crimes increased from the current three-year maximum sentence and plans to make the outcome of this occurrence an example for future cultural attacks.