Just Stop Oil activists continue to vandalise famous works of art, the latest being Vermeer’s renowned Girl with a Pearl Earring painting at a Dutch museum.
A Just Stop Oil climate activist glued his shaved head to the world-famous ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ painting at a museum in The Hague on Thursday, the latest in a series of stunts targeting iconic artworks.
A second protestor glued his hand to the wall next to the portrait. He spewed a can of tomato soup over his accomplice’s head before ranting about climate change as stunned onlookers jeered.
The gallery staff said that Dutch master Johannes Vermeer’s 1665 canvas is covered by the glass at the Mauritshuis museum and was not damaged.
“The police were notified and three people have been arrested. The condition of the painting was inspected by our restorer. Fortunately, the glass-covered masterwork was not damaged,” the museum said.
The odd act was caught on video that spread on social media showing two men approaching the famous oil painting, both wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan ‘Just Stop Oil’.
The activist who glued his hand to the wall says in lightly accented English. “How do you feel when you see something beautiful and priceless being apparently destroyed before your very eyes? Do you feel outraged? Good.”
“That is that same feeling when you see the planet being destroyed before our very eyes,” he adds.
The stunt was met with anger from museum visitors, who roared “Shame on you” and “Stupid!” at the two troublemakers.
One of them remarked that the painting was “protected by glass and is just fine … the future of our children is not protected.”
In additional footage, the two men in the video were seen being led away by cops.
Dutch police said they had arrested three Belgian men in their 40s for damage to public property and conducted a forensic investigation. The men were being questioned.
A statement from Just Stop Oil said its activists were responsible.
“The message is clear: if humanity does not immediately stop using fossil fuels, it will become extinct,” it said. “They would never defile a work of art not covered with protective glass.”
Dutch Junior Minister for Culture Gunay Uslu said, “everyone has the right to make a point. But please: leave our shared heritage alone. Attacking defenseless works of art is not the right way.”
Climate protesters threw mashed potatoes at Claude Monet’s ‘Haystacks’ in a German museum earlier this month. That followed a similar stunt in London, where protesters threw a can of Heinz tomato soup over Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ in the National Gallery. Before that, demonstrators from the same organisation glued themselves to another Van Gogh at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.
Just Stop Oil also targeted a waxwork model of King Charles III in Madame Tussaud’s in London with a pie.
In both those cases, the paintings were behind glass and were not damaged, and neither was