Climate activists once again targeted precious artwork on Thursday, and this time it was Johannes Vermeer’s masterpiece “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in the Netherlands.
At the Mauritshuis, a museum in The Hague that houses many of the Dutch masters, two men wearing “Just Stop Oil” T-shirts approached the priceless painting.
In video shared on social media, one of the protesters seemingly tried to glue his head to the artwork while the other poured something red on him.
After attempting to deface the painting, one of the men said to the crowd, “How do you feel when you see something beautiful and priceless being apparently destroyed before your eyes? Do you feel outrage? Good. That is the feeling when you see the planet being destroyed before our very eyes.”
People gathered around the painting and protesters can be heard disapproving of their actions.
“Stupid. Stupid,” one observer said.
“Obscene,” a woman said. “Shame on you.”
“Shut up. Get away from there,” another said.
Police eventually led the men away in handcuffs.
— Steven Bakker (@Kolpen) October 27, 2022
Though the climate activists used glue and some sort of red substance, the Mauritshuis said the painting was not damaged, The Associated Press reported.
“The condition of the painting has been investigated by our conservators. Fortunately, the glazed masterpiece was not damaged,” the museum said.
In a tweet on Friday, it said the artwork was on display once again.
“The Girl is back in the museum! To be admired (not to be touched),” the Mauritshuis said.
🤍The Girl is back in the museum! To be admired (not to be touched)
Want to know everything about Vermeer’s masterpiece? Check out our online story (link in bio) and listen to a writer, fashion activist & our curator.
Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665 pic.twitter.com/8lYAC1WKQ9
— Mauritshuis (@mauritshuis) October 28, 2022
The Vermeer masterpiece, painted around 1665, not only is a national treasure of the Dutch but is considered by many to be one of the greatest pieces of art ever created, according to Portrait Flip.
“Girl with a Pearl Earring” is the third great painting to be targeted by climate protesters in recent weeks.
On Oct. 14 at London’s National Gallery, two protesters threw tomato soup on “Sunflowers” by Vincent van Gogh and then glued themselves to the wall next to the painting.
They were also wearing “Just Stop Oil” shirts.
“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?” one of the protesters said.
“What is worth more, art or life? … are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?”@JustStop_Oil’s activists explain their action pic.twitter.com/mGNZIO6RbK
— Damien Gayle (@damiengayle) October 14, 2022
Days later, on Monday in Potsdam, Germany, two protesters threw mashed potatoes at Claude Monet’s “Les Meules” in the Barberini Museum and then glued themselves to the wall.
“We are in a climate catastrophe, and all you are afraid of is tomato soup or mashed potatoes on a painting. … I’m afraid because the science tells us that we won’t be able to feed our families in 2050. … This painting is not going to be worth anything if we have to fight over food,” the protesters said, according to NPR’s English translation.
Unlike the other two incidents involving the “Just Stop Oil” group, the German climate activist group Last Generation claimed responsibility for the mashed potato throwing.
“We make this #Monet the stage and the public the audience,” the group tweeted. “If it takes a painting – with #MashedPotatoes or #TomatoSoup thrown at it – to make society remember that the fossil fuel course is killing us all: Then we’ll give you #MashedPotatoes on a painting!”
We make this #Monet the stage and the public the audience.
— Letzte Generation (@AufstandLastGen) October 23, 2022
Am heutigen 23. Oktober wurde Claude Monets Gemälde „Getreideschober” durch zwei Aktivisten der „Letzten Generation” mit Kartoffelbrei beworfen. Da das Bild verglast ist, hat es der umgehenden konservatorischen Untersuchung zufolge keinerlei Schäden davongetragen. pic.twitter.com/Rn8EQsvPBS
— Museum Barberini (@MuseumBarberini) October 23, 2022
Many on social media criticized the attacks on famous paintings.
“I don’t understand how it’s an effective form of protest. Art has jack squat to do with climate change, and this kind of action offends a lot of people who otherwise might not have strong opinions and be persuadable. It’s asinine,” one user tweeted.
I don’t understand how it’s an effective form of protest.
Art has jack squat to do with climate change, and this kind of action offends a lot of people who otherwise might not have strong opinions and be persuadable.
— Dollar Store Publius (@Xeynon) October 24, 2022
“Soup and glue on Vermeer’s ‘Girl with Pearl Earring’ now ! Just Stop oil needs to be stopped. Mindless vandalism in the garb of activism,” another user posted on Twitter.
Soup and glue on Vermeer’s ‘Girl with Pearl Earring’ now !
Just Stop oil needs to be stopped. Mindless vandalism in the garb of activism. pic.twitter.com/3PMNhA1O9F
— Udit Kulshrestha (@uditkulshrestha) October 27, 2022
The activists that performed these acts of vandalism were arrested after the three incidents.
Police at The Hague announced they had arrested three people in connection with the incident at the Mauritshuis for “public violence against property,” Deutsche Welles reported.
London police arrested the two “Sunflowers” vandals and charged them with criminal damage and aggravated trespassing, NBC News reported.
The two mashed potato throwers in Germany were also arrested, CNBC reported.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.