Security guard ruins £740k artwork by drawing on eyes while bored on first day

A world-famous painting has been ruined by a security guard who claimed he was “bored” on his first day at work.

Three Figures, painted by acclaimed Russian artist Anna Leporskava in 1932, was on display at the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg, Russia, and was being looked after by a 60-year-old man.

But something odd was spotted by art lovers who were checking out the image, worth £740,000.

The security guard had decided to draw a pair of eyes on two out of the three faceless figures while on shift in December, 2021.

The news, which has only just made headlines outside of Russia this week, presumably did not go down well at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, where the painting was on loan from.

Despite the obvious vandalism, Russian police refused to open a criminal case against the man, as there were “no signs of a crime as defined by the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation,” local news reports state.

And the Yeltsin Center refused to give CCTV footage to the police, and also waited two weeks to report the vandalism.

Alexander Drozdov, executive director of the Yeltsin Center, said: “We were not even slightly puzzled when police decided not to open the case, because based on their damage assessment there was no legal grounds for an investigation.

“They say ‘no,’ you obey.

“We’re law-abiding citizens.”

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And a Center spokesman said: “The work was inspected by the restorer of the State Tretyakov Gallery the very next day and sent to Moscow.

“The painting is being restored, the damage, according to the expert, can be eliminated without consequences for the work of art.”

The restoration process is expected to cost around £20,000, and the painting was insured for around £740,000.

When returned to the gallery, it will be placed behind protective plastic screens for future protection.

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