A vandal enraged by what he claimed is a misleading portrayal of Ivan the Terrible has badly damaged one of the most iconic paintings of the infamous Tsar.
The attacker, who has not been named, used a metal pole to break the glass protecting Ilya Repin's Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16th, 1581, just before closing time at Moscow's Treyakov gallery on Friday.
"The painting is badly damaged, the canvas is ripped in three places in the central part.... The falling glass also damaged the frame," the gallery said in a statement.
"Luckily, the most valuable images, those of the faces and hands of the tsar and prince were not damaged," the statement said.
A 37-year old man from the town of Voronezh was arrested at the scene, police said in a statement.
The suspect told officers that he had acted because of what he called the "falsehood of the historical facts depicted on the canvas."
“I came to see the painting. 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,” he said in a video released by police.
Repin's painting, which was completed in 1885, depicts the moment of deranged grief when the aging Ivan the Terrible realizes he has murdered his son and heir apparent in a rage.
It is considered one of Repin's most emotionally intense paintings, and it has been said that Ivan the Terrible's eyes can drive viewers mad.
Tsar Alexander III disliked the painting so much he banned its display for several months after it was unveiled - making it the first painting subject to censorship in Russia.
In 1913 a mentally ill man called Abram Balashov cut it with a knife in three places, shouting "enough death, enough blood!"
Gregory Khruslov, the curator responsible for the painting, threw himself under a train when he heard about it.
Repin, who is widely considered the greatest Russian painter of the 19th century, was still alive to help restore the painting after that attack.
The painting has been held by the Tretyakov since the 19th century. In 2011 Repin's A Parisian Cafe fetched £4.5 million at auction.
Ivan the Terrible ruled Russia from 1547 to 1584.
Putin last year defending Ivan the Terrible (not that bad, look at all the other leaders back then!)— Scott Rose (@rprose) May 26, 2018
"Take the famous legend about how [in English, here] Ivan the Terrible, Ivan Grozny, killed his son. That's known yet, whether he killed his son or not"https://t.co/Ko0tyZZSG2
Most sources agree he killed his son Ivan in a quarrel over the Tsar's handling of a war with Poland and his treatment of the Tsarevich's wife, who had miscarried after being beaten by her father-in-law.
But some Russian nationalists argue that his reputation for brutality, including the story that he murdered Ivan, is actually a product of Western propaganda.
Vladimir Putin said last year that "its is not known yet" whether Ivan the Terrible killed his son, and that the whole story may have been made up by envoys from the Vatican who wanted to convert Russia from Orthodoxy to Catholicism.
In 2013, a nationalist group called Holy Rus sent an open letter the Tretyakov's director and Russia's minister of culture demanding Repin's painting be removed on the grounds that there was no evidence for the murder and that the painting was thus "a libel against the Russian people."
In October 2016 the Russian town of Oryol courted controversy by erecting the first public statue of Ivan the Terrible.