A vandal decided to do a little painting of his own after adding eyes to a piece of art at the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The artwork was an Anna Leporskaya piece from the 1930s titled Three Figures.
In December 2021, two visitors noticed the piece had been tampered with and informed the art center’s staff. Apparently, it took the management team two weeks to report the attack to the police. The center also did not provide video from the security cameras that were available to the museum.
Once the damage was reported, authorities refused to open a criminal case because there were no signs of a crime as defined by the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The painting had already been sent back to its rightful owner, the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, for restoration by the time police became involved.
It was eventually discovered that a security guard on his first day working for the gallery was the one who completed his own masterpiece. Alexander Drozdov, the executive director of the Yeltsin Center, did not identify the security guard but did mention he worked for a private security company and had been fired.
Thankfully, the ink of the ballpoint pen only slightly penetrated the paint layer. The vandal drew with the pen without strong pressure, ensuring the strokes were not disturbed. The left figure also had a small crumble of the paint layer up to the underlying layer on the face.
The work had been insured by the AlfaStrakhovanie company for 75 million rubles (around $1.1 million) and restoration for the work is expected to cost approximately 250,000 rubles (around $3,800).