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Moscow court arrests man who attacked famous painting at Tretyakov Gallery

May 29, 16:50 UTC+3

Igor Podporin had admitted his guilt

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Igor Podporin

Igor Podporin

© Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS

MOSCOW, May 19. /TASS/. Moscow City's Zamoskvoretsky district court has authorized the arrest of Igor Podporin, who is charged with attacking and damaging the canvas 'Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan' by the celebrated Russian realistic painter Ilya Repin at the Tretyakov Arts Gallery on May 25.

"The court ruled to answer a request by the prosecutors and to authorize a pretrial measure for Podporin in the form of custody through to July 26," the judges' resolution said.

The arrestee’s lawyer said earlier that Podporin had admitted his guilt.

"This offense falls in the category of aggravated crimes and the defendant has pleaded guilty," an investigator at the Zamoskvoretsky court said.

Reports on the incident at the Tretyakov Gallery, the world-famous collection of Russian arts from the 11th century through to the 21st century, reached the police in the evening of Friday, May 25. They said a malefactor had smashed the glass protecting 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 ripped the canvas in three spots. Besides, the falling fragments of the protective glass damaged the frame designed by Repin personally.

Podporin, 37, a resident of the city of Voronezh was detained by the police. He explained for his action by saying the scene displayed in the painting ran counter to established historical facts.

Ilya Repin, one of the most remarkable members of the Russian realistic school of painting, created one of his most famous pictures 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 after a row over alleged misconduct of the prince’s wife Yelena.

While the dying prince is whispering words of forgiveness, the czar is going mad as he realizes the scope of the tragedy.

The traditional conviction that Ivan killed his son in a spate of wrath received support from the Russian historians in the first half of the 19th century. Many contemporary experts, however, 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 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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