One of Vincent Van Gogh's most iconic paintings, 'Sunflowers' was today the target of an environmental protest by Just Stop Oil.
The protest involved two activists throwing a can of tomato soup on the painting, before gluing themselves to the wall. Yes, really.
The protestors are pushing the British government to "end all new oil and gas".
Vincent van Gogh painting the target of Just Stop Oil protest
In a remarkable clip shared to Twitter by Damien Gayle, activists from Just Stop Oil can be seen throwing cans of tomato soup at one of Vincent van Gogh's most beloved paintings, which is kept in the National Gallery in London. The gasps from onlookers capture the drama of the scene, before the pair of activists glue themselves to the wall.
— Damien Gayle (@damiengayle) October 14, 2022
A follow up clip was posted, which shows the protestors explaining why they targeted the van Gogh painting (which is kept behind a glass screen).
— Ro Carey (@RonanCareless) October 14, 2022
One of the activists says:
What is worth more? Art or life?
Is it worth more than food? Worth more than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting, or the protection of our planet and people?
The cost of living crisis is part of the cost of oil crisis. Fuel is unaffordable to millions of cold, hungry families. They can't even afford to heat a tin of soup.
Just Stop Oil, the group to which the activists are linked, was set up earlier this year, to protest against the British government's fossil fuel production. They are seeking a commitment from the UK government to end production of new fossil fuels immediately.
In July, they made headlines after entering the track during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Even with the race red-flagged, the sight of protestors sitting on a live race track was terrifying, and several drivers spoke out against their mode of protest.
They are sure to have captured the the attention of many around the world with their latest protest. The painting was not damaged in the incident, though the frame was mildly damaged.
National Gallery says that Van Gogh's Sunflowers is NOT damaged. Statement: "There is some minor damage to the frame but the painting is unharmed." Met police have arrested the two protesters on crim damage + aggravated trespass
— Fiona Hamilton (@Fhamiltontimes) October 14, 2022
Vincent van Gogh painted Sunflowers in 1888 as part of a series of similar paintings. The most famous of this series was the painting targeted by Just Stop Oil, and has resided in the National Gallery in London for nearly a century.