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Moscow gallery restores iconic Ilya Repin painting for the second time

Once attacked by an “overwhelmed” drunk man wielding a metal pole in 2018, Ilya Repin’s 1885 masterpiece Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan will be back on display at Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery after its proper restoration and with a “protective capsule” on it, reported The Art Newspaper. Before getting the protective capsule on it, the repaired canvas was briefly rehung in Tretyakov Gallery on 23rd May. The painting portrays Ivan the Terrible cradling his bloodied son Tsarevich Ivan, after dealing him a mortal blow in 1581.

The attacker, Igor Podporin from Voronezh was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. According to The Art Newspaper, this is the second time the painting was vandalized. It was first targeted in 1913 by a mentally ill iconographer, who slashed it three times with a knife. Now the Tretyakov hopes the increased security will protect the painting from being vandalized again.


Zelfira Tregulova, the general director of the Tretyakov Gallery told in a press conference that the protective capsule will be the same as the shields on Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and Primavera in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. It will be made out of an anti-glare, anti-vandal bulletproof glass, reports The Art Newspaper. “The glass is only made in Italy and Japan, and this seems to be an obstacle due to the current sanctions imposed on Russia following the ongoing ways”, says Tregulova.

In a statement quoted by The Art Newspaper, Tretyakov’s chief curator, Tatiana Gorodkova said, “Now the painting is in a very good state of preservation. It is alive, the canvas has regained its plasticity, details that we had not seen before have emerged. The incredible, fantastic richness of this painting has emerged.” The restoration work was being funded by the Russian state-owned banking and financial services company Sberbank with an estimated cost of $160,000.

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