At least three people have been arrested this Thursday in the Netherlands after leading an action to denounce global warming, throwing tomato sauce near the well-known painting ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, by the artist Johannes Vermeer, in the Mauritshuis museum, in The Hague.
Museums become forums for citizen protests
Images shared on social networks show how one of the activists approaches the famous painting, also known as the “Turbaned Girl” or the “Dutch Mona Lisa”, and seems to paint on it with a marker, while another person pours into the activist’s own t-shirt a can with tomato sauce.
Vermeer’s painting has not been damaged, according to the Mauritshuis, which has closed the room where the painting hangs while police carry out the investigation, and the other rooms of the museum remain open to the public.
The two activists in the image are wearing a white t-shirt as members of the Just Stop Oil organization.
“How does it feel to see something so beautiful and valuable being seemingly torn apart before your eyes? We feel outraged. This painting is protected by glass. That’s fine, but vulnerable people around the planet are not protected. The future of our children is not protected. People in extreme poverty have to choose between staying warm or eating, and they are not protected”, says one of them.
The Dutch police have confirmed the arrest of three people involved in this denunciation of the climate emergency, and they are accused of “open attack on artistic property”.
Last Tuesday, a Dutch climate activist, Jelle de Graaf, stuck live to the table of a television studio in the Netherlands to “talk about the climate and ecological crisis”, during a program to which he was invited to debate on new methods to draw attention to global warming.
The program sought to talk about the recent protest actions of climate activists who threw food against historical paintings. Last week, two supporters of the German group Letzte Generation (“Last Generation”) threw mashed potatoes at a painting by Claude Monet on display at the Barberini Museum in Potsdam, near Berlin.
That climate action had taken place a week after members of Just Stop Oil poured tomato soup on Van Gogh’s painting ‘Sunflowers’ at the National Gallery Museum in London. Both paintings were behind glass.