Wlodzimierz Umaniec (also known as Vladimir Umanets) who is 26 years of age was charged with criminal damage having allegedly written 'Vladimir Umanets '12. A potential piece of yellowism' on Rothko's 'Black on Maroon' whilst at the Tate Modern on Sunday. The painting is believed to be worth in the region of £50 million.
Witnesses at the gallery saw the man deface the mural before making his escape.
Mr Umaniec appeared before Camberwell Green Magistrates via a video link and pleaded not guilty to the charge following which he was remanded in custody until his next hearing on 16 October 2012.
Conservation experts from the Tate Modern gallery have been assessing the damage. Rothko paintings change hands for very large amounts of money. Earlier this year his 'Orange, Red, Yellow' sold for £53.8 million at Christies auction house inNew York.
It's not known currently what Mr Umaniec's motivation for the damage was whether he was seeking to make a protest or not. His defence solicitor David Clarke said 'this may be cynical but he might welcome it, so he can have the discussion he wishes to have about the art'.