A Moscow court has sentenced a man to 2 1/2 years in prison after convicting him of vandalizing a famous 19th-century painting of Tsar Ivan the Terrible at the state-run Tretyakov Gallery last year.
At an April 30 hearing, the court found Igor Podporin guilty of damaging a Russian cultural treasure: realist painter Ilya Repin's 1885 work depicting the seemingly anguished ruler cradling his bloodied son after mortally wounding him in a fit of rage.
Investigators say Podporin used a metal pole from a barrier at the museum to smash the protective glass and slash the canvas of the painting in an act of vandalism on May 25, 2018.
Ivan The Terrible And His Son Ivan is considered the most psychologically intense of Repin’s paintings and has been described as the artist's condemnation of violence and bloodshed.
Podporin, who is from the southern city of Voronezh, pleaded "partially guilty." His lawyer told journalists that the verdict will be appealed.
Media reports after his arrest said that Podporin justified his actions by citing what he called the "falsehood of the historical facts depicted on the canvas," suggesting that the tsar did not kill his son.
In court last year, Podporin said that he considers Ivan the Terrible a saint and believes Repin’s depiction of the tsar killing his own son was an affront to Orthodox Christians.
With credit for time served since his arrest and jailing, Podporin's sentence will end in less than a year and he is eligible to seek early release, state-run news agency TASS reported.
After the painting was damaged, state-owned financial giant Sberbank said that it would fund restoration efforts whose cost was estimated at up to $160,000.
The Tretyakov Gallery, one of Russia's most prominent art museums, became a crime scene again in January 2019 when a painting was stolen during opening hours.
A suspect casually removed a 1908 painting by Arkhip Kuindzhi called Ai Petri, Crimea from a wall, walked through rooms filled with visitors, and carried it out of the building.
Denis Chuprikov, a 32-year-old Russian citizen who was born in Crimea, was charged with theft after authorities said the painting was found at a construction site near his home outside Moscow.