It was his first day on the job.
You don’t often hear much about what goes on behind the scenes had an art gallery, especially as far as the night security is concerned. Aside from the occasional robbery or what you may see blown out of proportion in a movie, the job really is a little boring at times.
In fact, that is exactly how a Russian security guard described his job while he was working at the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg. It even got so bad one night that he decided to do a little artwork of his own.
Like many people, you may enjoy sitting and doodling from time to time. Perhaps you might draw little boxes or you may scribble something of your own design. For the Russian security guard, there was something about drawing eyeballs that just seemed to capture his attention.
On this particular night, he decided to draw eyeballs on a painting that is worth about $1 million. The human figurines and the painting were created by Anna Leporskaya between 1932 and 1934 and titled the Three Figures. She decided to create them without eyes, but the security guard thought they could use something extra. You can see the original below:
"Three Figures" (1932–34) — Anna Leporskaya pic.twitter.com/UZT7eXEGW1
— derek beaulieu (@derekbeaulieu) February 9, 2022
According to ARTNews, the security guard, “a decorated veteran of the Afghan and Chechen wars” who suffered emotional and physical injures from battle, believed the painting was done by a child and was told by some kids to paint eyes onto it.
He claims he naively listened to the children and added two dots to each of the back faces. What’s worse, is it was his first day on the job! Check out his artwork below:
Two visitors to the museum were able to spot the eyeballs and reported the problem. Since that time, the security guard has been let go and there is even a criminal investigation into the matter. According to The Guardian, the exhibition curator, Anna Reshetkina, said that it may just be some kind of “lapse in sanity,” which could make sense given his background.
The damage has been assessed since the ballpoint pen was taken to the painting. Because of the pressure put on the painting, it did penetrate the paint layer but the strokes, in general, were not disturbed because there wasn’t too much pressure put on to the painting. Instagram user @annamollyep shared an upclose look at the painting with the pen marks:
At this time, they are considering the issue to be vandalism. If the former security guard is convicted, he may be facing three months in prison and a fine as well. The painting did not remain on exhibit after this was discovered. It was removed from the Yeltsin Center and taken back to a gallery in Moscow, which is the gallery that loaned it to the center.
They are going to restore the painting at some point in the future, and it is thought that it will cost about $3300 to get the painting back to its original condition.