A security guard is accused of ruining a million-dollar painting by drawing eyes on it in ballpoint pen

·2 min read
Anna Leporskaya’s "Three Figures" painting, defaced with two sets of beady eyes on two previously eyeless figures.
A security guard at the Boris Yeltsin Center decided to add two sets of beady eyes to a 1930s Soviet-era painting estimated to be worth around $1 million.The Art Newspaper Russia
  • A museum security guard in Russia has been charged with vandalism after doodling on a painting.

  • The unnamed guard was accused by the authorities of drawing eyes on a painting.

  • The art piece, by Soviet artist Anna Leporskaya, is worth around $1 million.

A security guard at a Russian gallery was charged with vandalism after he used a ballpoint pen to draw two sets of googly eyes on a painting worth around $1 million.

The guard, who has not been named, was accused of defacing the painting on his first day at work at an exhibition at the Boris Yeltsin Center in Ekaterinburg, Russia. The incident, first reported on by Russian media outlet Art Newspaper Russia, involved the "Three Figures" painting, a piece completed in the 1930s by Soviet artist Anna Leporskaya.

According to the outlet, visitors to the gallery alerted staff on December 7 after they spotted what appeared to be two pairs of "crudely-rendered eyes" scribbled on the painting.

Alexander Drozdov, executive director of the Boris Yeltsin Center, told Art Newspaper Russia that the guard was a 60-year-old contracted worker employed from a private security organization. Drozdov added that he used one of the ballpoint pens at the museum to make the etchings.

"His motives are still unknown, but the administration believes it was some kind of a lapse in sanity," exhibition curator Anna Reshetkina told the Art Newspaper.

Museum administrators fired the guard, and police opened an investigation into the incident. If found guilty, the guard could be fined or sentenced to up to three months in prison, per the BBC.

The rest of the work in the exhibition has since been placed behind protective screens, according to The Washington Post. Leporskaya's painting is undergoing restoration, which is expected to cost around $3,400.

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