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'Ivan the Terrible' Painting Viciously Attacked—But Why?

Russian attacker says he was 'overwhelmed'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2018 3:30 PM CDT
"Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581," an 1885 painting by Russian artist Ilya Repin.   (Wikipedia)

(Newser) – Maybe it was the vodka—or the crazy in Ivan the Terrible's eyes. Whatever, a drunk Russian has assaulted one of his of his country's most famous paintings, Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581, reports the Guardian. The government released video of the 37-year-old saying he went to the State Tretyakov gallery in central Moscow to see the work, of the 16th-century tsar cradling his son after mortally attacking him. "I wanted to leave, but then dropped into the [gallery’s] buffet and drank 100g of vodka," the man says. "I don't drink vodka and became overwhelmed by something." He then grabbed a metal pole used to keep people away from the art and attacked the painting three times.

He managed to smash through the protective glass and cause "serious damage" to the painting, piercing it in three places, the gallery says. Luckily the work was undamaged in key areas around the subjects' hands and faces and may be fixable. Some Russian media outlets say the man attacked the painting for being inaccurate, a charge leveled in 2013 by Russian nationalists who wanted the painting taken down, the Telegraph reports. Generally speaking, nationalists including Vladimir Putin consider Ivan a great tsar who's been vilified by the West. Others say the 1885 painting by Ilya Repin so intensely depicts Ivan the Terrible's anguish that the look in his eyes "can drive viewers mad," per the Telegraph. (Read more Russia stories.)

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