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Suspected Vandal Of Repin Painting Placed In Pretrial Custody

Ivan the Terrible kills his own son in the painting by Ilya Repin (file photo)
Ivan the Terrible kills his own son in the painting by Ilya Repin (file photo)

Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky district court has authorized the pretrial detention of a man accused of vandalizing a 19th-century painting by Russian realist painter Ilya Repin at the state-run Tretyakov Gallery.

Igor Podporin, a 37-year-old resident of the city of Voronezh, is to remain in custody through July 26 while awaiting trial on charges of attacking and damaging the canvas.

Investigators in the case told the court on May 29 that the charges have been reclassified to criminal "destruction of or damage to the most valuable objects of cultural heritage."

If convicted, Podporin could face up to six years in prison.

Podporin's lawyer said earlier that Podporin had admitted his guilt to an aggravated criminal act.

But Podporin told the court on May 29 that he has not pleaded guilty, saying that “everyone pressured him” to make a confession, including the Tretyakov Gallery staff.

Prosecutors say Podporin used a metal pole from a barricade in the gallery to smash the protective glass of the painting and to rip the canvas on May 25.

The painting, from 1885, depicts Ivan the Terrible holding his son after mortally wounding him in a fit of rage.

It is considered the most psychologically intense of Repin’s paintings -- an expression of the artist's revolt against violence and bloodshed.

Podporin reportedly justified the act of vandalism because of the "falsehood of the historical facts depicted on the canvas."

Russia’s Sberbank said on May 28 that it would fund restoration efforts that could cost up to $160,000.

Based on reporting by Current TIme, TASS, and Interfax