Security Guard Cures His “Boredom” by Doodling Eyes on a $1 Million Painting


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A Russian security guard had a very memorable first day at his job at the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg. So memorable, in fact, that he has made international news. Finding his position “boring,” he entertained himself by doodling. But this wasn’t just any idle drawing; he added something extra to artist Anna Leporskaya's painting titled Three Figures. Created between 1932 and 1934, the work is reportedly worth $1 million and features a trio of human-like figures that are typically eyeless. Now, thanks to the security guard, two of those figures have eyes that were drawn with a ballpoint pen.

The security guard’s doodles were discovered by two eagle-eyed visitors during their trip to the museum. The incident happened in December, and the guard has since been fired and police have opened a criminal investigation into the matter. “His motives are still unknown,” exhibition curator Anna Reshetkina said, “but the administration believes it was some kind of a lapse in sanity.”

Since the incident occurred, the museum has assessed the damage to the painting caused by the pen. (The offending utensil, coincidentally, was a Yeltsin Center-branded pen.) The ink penetrated the paint layer, but because the eyes were created without much pressure, the strokes “as a whole” were not disturbed.

The incident has been classed as vandalism. If convicted, the suspect could face a fine and up to three months in prison. As for the painting, it has since been removed from the Yeltsin Center and returned to the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, which had initially loaned the piece. There are plans for restoration, which is estimated to cost 250,000 roubles (about $3,300).

A security guard found himself “bored” during his first day on the job at Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg, Russia. To pass the time, he doodled on Anna Leporskaya's painting titled Three Figures. Here's what the 20th-century painting looked like before the addition of his beady eyes.


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h/t: [BBC]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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