Security Guard Drew Eyes on Million Dollar Painting Because He Was Bored

A security guard got so bored on his first day at work that he ruined a million-dollar avant-garde painting by drawing eyes on the faceless figures depicted in the artwork.

Anna Leporskaya’s Three Figures, an artwork painted between 1932 and 1934, was on display at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center in Ekaterinburg as part of an exhibition when someone noticed something strange about it in December of last year. The three figures depicted in the avant-garde piece were originally faceless, but now two of them had small dots for eyes. The vandalism was first noticed on 7 December by two visitors who alerted the Yeltsin Center staff about it, and a search for the perpetrator began. One thing that no one expected was for the security guard paid to prevent such things from happening to be the vandal…

“His motives are still unknown but the administration believes it was some kind of a lapse in sanity,” said Alexander Drozdov, the executive director of the Yeltsin Center. “Fortunately, the vandal drew with a pen without strong pressure, and therefore the relief of the strokes as a whole was not disturbed. The left figure also had a small crumble of the paint layer up to the underlying layer on the face.”

Apparently, the unnamed security guard, who was on his first day on the job, got so bored that he drew the eyes on the painting using a Yeltsin Center-branded pen. The man’s identity has not been revealed, but he was apparently working for a private security company and has since been fired.

The Guardian reported that the act of vandalism was first reported by the Yeltsin Center on December 20, but the ministry of internal affairs declined to press charges, as it considered the damage “insignificant”. However, the ministry of culture later complained to the prosecutor general’s office about the lack of action, and an official investigation began. Now the bored ex-security guard faces a fine and several months behind bars.

Anna Leporskaya’s Three Figures was insured for 75 million rubles ($988,000) and experts at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow have estimated that the restoration work would cost 250,000 roubles ($3,300).