The BBC’s arts editor Will Gompertz told Radio 4 that “the ink from the pen has bled all the way through the canvas causing a deep wound, not a superficial graze.”

“Because of the way in which Rothko worked, which was building his paintings layer after layer after layer in a meticulous fashion, the conservators are going to have to remove the paint layer after layer and then rebuild it.” Gompertz explained.

The man who scrawled a message on the painting as it hung in the Tate Modern said at the time:

“I didn’t destroy the picture. I did not steal anything. There was a lot of stuff like this before. Marcel Duchamp signed things that were not made by him, or even Damien Hirst…I don’t believe that what I have done is criminal. If the police are going to arrest me, then they are going to arrest me. I am OK with that.” the man who called himself Vladimir Umanets said at the time.

He was later revealed to be a Polish man by the name of Wlodzimierz Umaniec, who appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court in October this year and pleaded guilty to the charge of criminal damage.

Find out more about the painting Black on Maroon by Mark Rothko on the Tate website. 

Image: YouTube