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One of the world’s most valuable paintings has been scribbled on with black marker pen.

Vladimir Umanets, from Russia, claims to be responsible for defacing “Black on Maroon”, one of Mark Rothko’s Seagram murals. However, he denies criminal damage.

The murals are hanging in a gallery at London’s Tate Modern. The museum was shut for a short time after the incident on Sunday. Despite the panic, there are no plans to prevent people getting up close to the art.

“I think it would be a shame because it is very hard to enjoy a piece of work if you can’t get close to it, if there is all kinds of apparatus in the way, barriers to it, especially – thinking Rothko in particular – has a very visceral approach.” said Olivier Basciano from Art Review magazine.

Rothko is a renowned post-war abstract impressionist. He was commissioned to paint the Seagram murals in 1958 for Manhattan’s iconic Four Seasons Restaurant.

One of his paintings sold for 65 million euros at auction in May.

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