Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan, Repin (1885)

Repin Masterpiece Still Under Restoration 1.5 Years After Attack

Published: January 5, 2020

“Ivan the Terrible Kills His Son,” one of Russian master Ilya Repin’s best-known paintings, was damaged by a vandal a year and a half ago. The man was motivated by his belief that the painting shows an event that never happened and is essentially “fake news” blackening the image of Ivan the Terrible. He used a metal post used to rope off the painting to break its protective glass case and make three tears through the canvas. The Tretyakov’s restoration facilities have been working ever since to restore the painting, made more difficult by the painting’s large size and its already poor condition. The Tretyakov has built or modified special equipment in their efforts to restore the painting.

Below is a news report on the next restoration stage: removing the old glue from the back of the painting and preparing it for new adhesive. It is presented in Russian with a transcript in side-by-side translation.

В Третьяковской галерее рассказали о ключевом этапе в реставрации поврежденного шедевра Ильи Репина Tretyakov Gallery Comments on Key Stage to Restoring Damaged Repin Masterpiece
Ко второму и самому важному этапу реставрации знаменитого шедевра Ильи Репина, известного как «Иван Грозный убивает своего сына», приступили в Третьяковской галерее. The second and most important stage of the restoration of the famous masterpiece of Ilya Repin, known as “Ivan the Terrible Kills His Son,” has begun at the Tretyakov Gallery.
Картину 1,5 года назад повредил злоумышленник, который металлическим ограждением разбил стекло и разорвал холст в трех местах. The painting was damaged 1.5 years ago by an attacker who broke the glass with a metal barrier and tore the canvas in three places.
Ключевому этапу предшествовал длительный подготовительный процесс: картину, как называют это сами реставраторы, «передублировали» на другой холст. Теперь с авторского полотна будут убирать старый слой клея. Для этого разработали уникальный стол-трансформер и специальную абразивную камеру. The key stage comes after a long preparatory process: the picture, as restorers themselves say, was “duplicated” on another canvas. Now, the old layer of glue will be removed from the canvas. To do this, a unique transforming table and a special abrasive chamber were developed.
«В реставрации, особенно в такой сложной реставрации «Ивана Грозного», а напомним, что это не просто картина, которая пострадала в результате вандального нападения и получила механические повреждения, три прорыва в центре картины, картина хронически больна. Очень плохая связь красочного слоя с грунтом. И возникают моменты отставания краски. Мы не торопимся, это очень важно, здесь нужно следовать шаг за шагом», — рассказала главный хранитель Государственной Третьяковской галереи Татьяна Городкова. “In restoration, and especially in such a complex restoration such as with ‘Ivan the Terrible,’ and remember that this is not just a picture that has suffered from a vandal attack and physical damage, with three tears through the center of the picture, but the picture is chronically ill. The paint layer has a very poor bond to the primer layer. And there are places where the paint is pulling away. We are not in a hurry, it is very important, that we go step by step with this,” said Tatyana Gorodkova, the Chief Curator of the State Tretyakov Gallery Chief.

About the author

Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson is the Assistant Director for The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) and Communications Director for Alinga Consulting Group. In those capacities, he has been managing publications and informative websites covering geopolitics, history, business, economy, and politics in Eurasia since 2003. He is based in Moscow, Russia. For SRAS, he also assists in program development and leads the Home and Abroad Programs.

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