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Moscow museum director likens attacks on works of art to terrorism

May 28, 20:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Reports on an incident in the Tretyakov Gallery, a museum boasting an unparalleled collection of Russian art, reached the police in the evening of Friday, May 25

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MOSCOW, May 28. /TASS/. Director of the Tretyakov Arts Gallery, the world-famous collection of Russian arts from the 11th century through to the 21st century, has likened attacks on the works of art to terrorist acts.

Zelfira Tregulova said it in the wake of last Friday’s incident in the Tretyakov Gallery where a drunk vandal attacked the painting ‘Ivan and Terrible and His Son’ with a metal pole, damaging the canvas - luckily enough not beyond repair.

"I think the most important thing is to bring up a reaction from society that doesn’t trample on the bones [of historical personages - TASS] but realizes this is the inception of a horrible social process," she told a news briefing.

Tregulova added that it was impossible to place every work in a museum under a protective glass, which costs dozens of thousands of euro, all the more so that this would wash away the very essence of art.

Reports on an incident in the Tretyakov Gallery, a museum boasting an unparalleled collection of Russian art, reached the police in the evening of Friday, May 25. They said a malefactor had smashed the glass protecting Ilya Repin’s canvas ‘Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581’ with a metal pole, which supported a rope fencing around the picture.

He also damaged the canvas in three spots. In addition, the falling fragments of the protective glass damaged the frame, designed by Repin himself.

The 37-year-old man, a resident of the city of Voronezh who was detained in this connection, explained for his action by saying the scene Repin had depicted ran counter to established historical facts.

Ilya Repin, one of the most remarkable members of the Russian realistic school of painting, created the canvas from 1883 through 1885. It shows a grief-stricken czar cradling his eldest son Ivan, a successor to the Russian throne.

Ivan the Senior has just smashed his son’s head fatally following a row over alleged misconduct of the prince’s wife Yelena. The 27-year-old man is dying but saying the words of absolution to his distracted father.

The traditional conviction that the czar killed his son in a spate of wrath received support from the Russian historians in the first half of the 19th century. Contemporary experts call this act of filicide into question.

The previous incident where the painting was damaged occurred in January 1913. Abram Balashov, a 29 year-old icon painter from among the disciples of the so-called Russian Church of the Old Rite, struck the canvas three times with a knife, after which Repin had to repaint the faces of the czar and the prince.

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