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Security guard draws eyes on Russian painting – the internet reacts

The Three Figures painting by Anna Leporskaya on an orange background
(Image credit: Anna Leporskaya)

Picture this, you're an artist and you spend years working on a masterpiece. But when your work is being displayed at a gallery, somebody defaces it with a biro pen – heartbreaking, right? Well for Russian artist, Anna Leporskaya, this is very much a reality. 

Leproskaya's painting, Three Figures, was defaced by a 60-year-old security guard at the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg, Russia this week. Using a ballpoint pen, the guard drew four eyes on the faceless figures. The defacing has now torn the internet as many are loving the mischievous makeover while others can't believe someone would do such a thing. If you're missing the buzz of a gallery, then why not check out our roundup of the best online art galleries?

A before and after of the painting

This gives a new meaning to the word 'defacing' (Image credit: Anna Leporskaya)

Unbelievably, the eye bandit defaced the painting, worth £740,00 on his first day of the job. According to The BBC (opens in new tab), he has since been sacked from his position and the police have opened up a criminal investigation. The restoration of the painting is estimated to cost £2,470. 

We never condone defacing art, however, we can't help but laugh at the painting's new look. It kind of reminds us of all the botched restorations we've seen over the years, like the Ghent altarpiece lamb and the Immaculate Conception. Part of us wonders whether this was a Banksy-style stunt to attract attention to the gallery, and some have even suggested selling the redesign as an NFT. 

Over on Twitter, users are divided about the defacing. One user described the makeover, "like drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa," and another simply asked, "Who does that?".  And while many art fans were outraged by the vandalism, many are crowning the security guard as a bit of an anti-hero. One user said, "I love art, this is fantastic," and another responded, "I like this guy".

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We hope the faces can be restored to their original look without doing too much damage to the rest of the painting, but while the restorers are busy hitting that undo button, why not treat yourself to some of the best art supplies and create your own unorthodox redesigns? 

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Amelia Bamsey
Staff Writer

Amelia is Creative Bloq’s Staff Writer. After completing a degree in Popular Music and a Master’s in Song Writing, Amelia began designing posters, logos, album covers and websites for musicians. She now enjoys covering a range of topics on Creative Bloq, including posters, optical illusions, logos (she's a particular fan of logo Easter eggs), gaming and illustration. In her free time, she relishes in the likes of art (especially the Pre-Raphaelites), photography and literature. Amelia prides herself on her unorthodox creative methods, her Animal Crossing island and her extensive music library.