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Sentence of gallery guard who ‘fixed’ art overturned – media

Adding eyes to figures on a pricey painting did not raise to the level of criminality, court decided

An appeals judge in Russia has overturned a guilty verdict of a security guard, who used a ball pan to ‘fix’ a painting by a student of avant-guard master Kazimir Malevich.

The actions of Aleksandr Vasilyev, who altered a work that was on display at the gallery he was guarding, did not constitute a felony, a judge in Yekaterinburg ruled, according to a TASS report from the courthouse on Friday.

The ruling struck down the punishment of 180 hours of community service and a court-mandated treatment at psych ward, which were part of Vasilyev’s initial sentence passed in late August by a magistrate judge at the same court.

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Museum guard who added eyes to painting sentenced

The new ruling said that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had an intention to vandalize the piece of art. It also agreed with an expert witness, who argued that the act of adding eyes to faceless figures in the painting didn’t constitute its disfigurement and thus didn’t qualify as vandalism.

The incident happened in late 2021 at the Yeltsin Center museum in Yekaterinburg, which offered Vasilyev, who is in his 60s, the job of a security guard. It had on display the 1930s painting ‘Three Figures’ by Anna Leporskaya, which it had borrowed from the Tretyakov gallery in Moscow. 

During the initial trial, Vasilyev claimed that he thought the piece was a child’s work of little value when he took a ballpen to it. The owner put a 75-million-ruble ($1.24m) price tag on it and said restoring it cost 250,000 rubles ($4,130), which were paid by an insurance company.

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https://ift.tt/T1emxVB November 18, 2022 at 02:06PM
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