6 Famous Paintings Attacked By Climate Activists

The dousing of a glass-covered Mona Lisa in pumpkin soup is the latest in a string of cases of priceless artworks being targeted by environmental activists.

Here are some of the other cases that have made headlines in the past two years:

Soup for “Sunflowers”

Latest and Breaking News on NDTV

In October 2022, two activists from the Just Stop Oil group emptied cans of tomato soup over the glass protecting Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in London’s National Gallery.

The pair, who complained that art lovers were more concerned with paintings than the planet, were arrested and charged with damaging the frame.

A month later, activists from the Last Generation group splashed pea soup onto another Van Gogh — “The Sower” — in Rome.

The painting, exhibited behind glass, was also undamaged.

Mash for Monet

In October 2022, protesters from the German branch of Last Generation flung mash at a Claude Monet, “Les Meules” (The Haystacks), hanging in a museum in Potsdam. It too was protected by glass.

In June 2023, activists in Stockholm smeared red paint and glued their hands to the glass covering another of the French impressionist’s works, “The Artist’s Garden at Giverny”, in a Swedish museum.

Glued to Vermeer

In October 2022, a man in Dutch city of The Hague glued his head to the glass protecting Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” in the Mauritshuis museum.

A second activist poured tomato soup on it.

Hands-on with Goya

Latest and Breaking News on NDTV

In November 2022, two Extinction Rebellion activists each glued a hand to the frames of two paintings by Spanish master Francisco Goya in the Prado museum in Madrid.

The protest did not damage either painting.

Painting Degas

In April 2023, climate activists attacked a famous Degas wax sculpture — “La petite danseuse de quatorze ans” (Little Dancer, 14 years old) — in a Washington museum, smearing its Plexiglas enclosure with red and black paint.

“Today, through nonviolent rebellion, we temporarily defiled a work of art to evoke the very real children whose suffering is certain if deadly fossil fuel companies continue to mine coal, oil and gas from the soil”, the group which claimed the action, which called itself Declare Emergency, wrote on Instagram.

Taking a hammer to Velasquez

In November 2023, Just Stop Oil protesters smashed the glass cover of a Diego Velazquez painting, “The Rokeby Venus” at the National Gallery in London with hammers.

They said they were inspired by the work of a suffragette who slashed the painting in the early 20th century during a campaign for the right to vote.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Leave a Comment