Russian Art Gallery Considers Ban on Booze After Drunk Man Attacks Painting with Pole

“I don’t drink vodka, and became overwhelmed by something.”

by Ruby Lott-Lavigna
30 May 2018, 2:08pm

Photo via Wikimedia Commons and Flickr user Rishabh Mathur. Russian Art Gallery to Ban Alcohol After Drunk Man Attacks Painting with Pole

Art can really get you, you know? You’re there in the National Gallery and, all of a sudden, you spot a painting at the end of the corridor. It’s a horse, but it’s not just a horse. Your friends keep pulling you towards the exit because frankly, you all went out last night, and the National Gallery is, like, the seventh circle of hell for Londoners. And yet, despite the pressing need for McDonald’s, you just can’t leave. It’s majestic. It’s against a beige backdrop. The horse is frightened. The painting is huge. You’re paralysed. Art!!

Well, this kind of experience isn’t reserved for culture-seeking London residents on a bit of a comedown. A gallery in Russia has moved to ban alcohol in its cafe, after a drunk visitor became “overwhelmed by something” when viewing a painting, and attacked the canvas with a metal pole.

According to The Drinks Business, 37-year-old Igor Podporin had come to the State Tretyakov gallery in Moscow to view Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581, a painting by Russian Realist Ilya Repin. On his way to see the piece, which depicts the maddened Tzar cradling his bleeding son, Podporin stopped at the gallery cafe, and decided to knock back a vodka or two.

Going next to the room where Repin’s painting is displayed, Podporin proceeded to push past gallery staff, grab a metal security pole used to keep visitors away from the artwork, and smash the glass casing around the painting. He also caused damage to the canvas.

Podporin could now face three years in prison and a fine of 3 million rubles (around £33,000).

As reported by Reuters, Podporin told police that the vodka had caused him to have a profound reaction to the piece. “I came to look at the painting,” he claimed. “I wanted to leave, but then dropped into the buffet and drank 100 grams of vodka. I don’t drink vodka and became overwhelmed by something.”

A press statement from the gallery explained that the canvas was pierced three times during the attack. “As a result of the blows, the thick glass [...] was smashed,” the statement reads. “Serious damage was done to the painting. The canvas was pierced in three places in the central part of the work which depicts the figure of the Tsarevich (the tsar’s son).”

Zelfira Tregulova, director of the State Tretyakov, told local media that the gallery would be asking its cafe to remove alcoholic drinks from sale.

They can stop selling alcohol, but they can never stop us feeling. *Sobs thinking of horse painting*

Ilya Repin