Russia has far greater problems at present but the potential damage unskilled workers can cause should not be ignored. A newly appointed security guard at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center in the city of Yekaterinburg clearly did not understand his job description very well.
On his first day he added his personal touch to a prized painting valued at $1 million by adding cartoon eyes to the faceless figures. The painting, titled Three Figures by Anna Leporskaya, was on loan from the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow in a survey of 20th-century Russian avant-garde art. The work was promptly removed while protective screens were installed over the other artworks in the show.
The painting depicts a trio of featureless heads and was insured for 75 million roubles, roughly $1 million. Upon examination, conservators determined that the vandal penetrated a top layer of paint and caused some pigment on the left-hand face to crumble, but otherwise did not apply enough pressure to inflict significant damage. Experts estimate that restoration will cost 250,000 roubles ($3,300) and can be done without further jeopardizing the canvas.
Not surprisingly the security guard turned would-be artist has since been fired.