The court ordered the vandal to seek psychiatric help and do community work.
A district court in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg has reached a verdict in the case of a security guard who “fixed” a painting on display at a museum by adding eyes to the work’s faceless figures.
The defendant, Aleksandr Vasilyev, was ordered to seek psychiatric help. He will also serve 180 hours of community service for his act of vandalism, the court decided on Monday.
The incident happened in January, when Vasilyev, a war veteran employed by a private security firm, had just been hired at the Yeltsin Center museum. The 1930s painting ‘Three Figures’ by Anna Leporskaya, a student of world-renowned avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich, was on loan from the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.
Vasilyev said during the trial that he heard some visitors remarking that the three figures in the painting would look better with facial features, so he took out a pen and added eyes.
He claimed that he had thought the piece was a child’s work of little value. However, the owner estimated the damage done to the 75-million-ruble ($1.25mn) work of art at 250,000 rubles ($4,150).
His attorney sought to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor so the man would not have a criminal record. But the court declined the request due to the fact that the defendant insisted he did nothing wrong.
During the trial, several public figures, including the governor of the Urals region, where Ekaterinburg is located, called for clemency for Vasilyev.