A pair of vandals threw tomato soup one of the art world’s most celebrated masterpieces at an art museum in London on Friday in a bizarre protest against fossil fuels.
Vincent van Gogh’s iconic “Sunflowers,” valued at nearly $85 million was undamaged in the attack at London’s National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, thanks to a glass covering. But the shocking display left museum-goers gasping and calling for security.
“Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?” one of the suspects asked as shocked spectators gathered at the scene.
Activists vandalise Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery.
The vandalism or destruction of art is always an authoritarian act.
But more than that – it represents a repudiation of civilisation and the achievements of humanity.pic.twitter.com/8gLTjekvIt
— Andrew Doyle (@andrewdoyle_com) October 14, 2022
The two suspects glued their hands to the museum wall after dousing the painting with two cans of Heinz tomato soup at around 11 a.m. local time. London police officers arrested them for criminal damage and aggravated trespassing.
A video posted on Twitter by the Guardian newspaper’s environment correspondent Damien Gayle and retweeted by the eco-activism group showed the incident, with the two young protesters gluing themselves to the wall after hurling the soup.
“I’m pretty sure most of the pollution comes from burning oil rather than painting with it,” The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles quipped in a tweet.
The attack was attributed to the protest group Just Stop Oil, members of which in July glued their hands to a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” at a museum in London. In June, members glued themselves to another van Gogh painting, “Peach Trees Blossom,” at London’s Courtauld Gallery, and in May, a cross-dressing climate-change activist threw cake at the Mona Lisa.
“Is art worth more than life?” Just Stop Oil asked in a Friday tweet. “More than food?”
Van Gogh painted “Sunflowers” in 1888. It is the most famous of a series of still lives of the flowers that he painted while living in Arles, France. The troubled artist, who famously lopped off his ear after having his heart broken, died just two years later when he shot himself in the chest at age 37.