Girl with a Pearl Earring targeted by Just Stop Oil protesters
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Just Stop Oil protesters have been arrested outside an art gallery in the Netherlands after footage showed one of them glueing his shaved head to a priceless masterpiece. Two males in white t-shirts, with the protest group name “Just Stop Oil” written in black lettering across their fronts, were filmed approaching the Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague. One of them then attempted to superglue his head to the glass casing covering the masterpiece, while the other poured what appeared to be tomato soup over his head. Dutch police said they arrested three people outside the museum, with the third person unknown, after civilians screamed abuse at the activists.
One of the protesters, having glued his hand to the wall next to the painting, said: “How do you feel? How do you feel when you see something beautiful and priceless being destroyed before your eyes?
“Do you feel outraged? Good. Where is that feeling when you see the planet being destroyed before our very eyes.”
Civilians in the gallery, gathered around the two activists, appeared shocked, with one woman describing the protest as “obscene” and saying “shame on you”.
The protester added: “This painting is protected by glass. It is just fine.” But people within the gallery screamed “shut up” in response, unconvinced by the protest.
As cries of “shut up” continued to resound, the protester said: “Vulnerable people in the global south, they are not protected.
“The future of our children is not protected. People in fuel poverty who must choose between heating and eating are not protected.”
The Mauritshuis museum released a statement following the protest confirming that the painting had not been damaged but slammed the activists for attacking the “defenceless” art.
They said: “Art is defenceless and the Mauritshuis strongly rejects trying to damage it for whatever purpose.”
Vermeer’s painting is the latest target of climate protesters after one masterpiece located near Berlin and another in London were defaced earlier this month.
Members of a German environmental group, Letzte Generation (Last Generation), threw mashed potatoes over Claude Monet’s Les Meules (Haystacks) in the Museum Barberini in Postdam, outside Berlin, on Sunday.
Ten days previously, Just Stop Oil activists poured tomato soup over Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London.
They then glued themselves to the wall beneath the artwork, which is one of the gallery’s most important treasures. Les Meules and Sunflowers were also behind glass.
Members of the group also threw chocolate cake on a waxwork model of King Charles III at Madam Tussauds in London earlier this week.
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The Girl with a Pearl Earring is an oil painting by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer, dated to 1665. It has been through several name changes before curators settled on its current name.
The painting inspired a Hollywood film, released in 2003, starring Scarlett Johanssen and Colin Firth, who played the painter Johannes Vermeer.
On top of defacing paintings, Just Stop Oil has been protesting around London recently, with its supporters glueing themselves to streets to block traffic.
On their Twitter page, they write that they “demand the UK Government agrees to end all new oil and gas deals”.
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