Repin’s Ivan the Terrible Severely Damaged with Metal Security Pole
By Bork S. Nerdrum

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The Quote:

Romanticism is the mother of kitsch and there are moments when the child becomes so like its mother that one cannot differentiate between them

— Hermann Broch, author

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Just before closing time at the State Tretyakov gallery on friday, 25th May — a drunken man passed a group of gallery employees, picked up a metal security pole and smashed the thick glass — protecting the canvas of Ilya Repin’s Ivan the Terrible and His Sonseveral times. The canvas was severely damaged in three places near the central part of the picture. Fortunately, neither the faces nor the hands of Ivan and his son were damaged.

Igor Podporin, the man who attacked the painting, specifically came to see Repin’s Ivan the Terrible in the Tretyakov gallery.
He told the police that he “wanted to leave, but then dropped into the buffet and drank 100 grams of vodka. I don’t drink vodka, and became overwhelmed by something.”

The painting has now been been taken down and transferred to the museum’s restoration area.


Attacked before

Repin’s painting of Ivan the Terrible was merely 28 years of age when it got sliced up with a knife — in the central part of the motif — three times by a mentally ill man in 1913. What is it about this image that makes people want to destroy it — is it because of its historically disputed content or is it because it is painted so well that some people cannot distinguish between the painting and reality?