(This article features two separate accounts from two of our talented writers)
On October 14th, 2022, the $8.42 million sunflower painting by Van Gogh was vandalized by climate activists. The two protestors threw a can of soup at the infamous painting and then glued themselves to the wall while shouting protests.
The activists were protesting on behalf of the organization, “Just Stop Oil.” There is video footage of the incident where the observers call for security while the protesters continue to discuss the topic. One activist asks, “What is worth more, art or life?” They then continue as security confronts them and tries to get them off the wall. She continues, “We cannot afford new oil and gas. It is going to take everything we know and love.”
The security guards were able to remove the protestors from the wall, and they were arrested. The painting was seen undamaged a few hours after the attack.
A similar stunt occurred this past summer when protestors taped “modern revisions” by the same organization. These protestors taped apocalyptic views of the future to the painting, causing minor damage to it. Both protesters were arrested, and it was later discovered that they had also spray painted their organization’s logo onto the floor in orange spray paint.
On October 14, oil protesters from the Just Stop Oil campaign group threw soup on the famous Van Gogh painting “Sunflowers”. The painting, held at the National Gallery in London, was unframed and, except minor for minor damages to the frame, is in good condition, officials say. The two protesters each threw a can of Heinz tomato soup on the painting and then glued their hands to the wall below the painting. Earlier this year, members of Just Stop Oil glued their hands to other works of art to create climate change awareness, including Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” at London’s Royal Academy of Art. They have also protested by blocking roads and racetracks. The apparent point of the protest was to raise awareness of the U.K. ‘s energy crisis, one protester shouting “The cost-of-living crisis is part of the cost of oil crisis. Fuel is unaffordable to millions of cold, hungry families. They can’t even afford to heat a tin of soup. “The protest follows the U.K.’s new round of licensing of North Sea oil earlier this month, the group’s goal being to end the use of fossil fuels in the U.K. 13% of the average U.K. households’ income goes towards home energy and vehicle fuel, which is significantly more than those of the US (around 4-7%). The two protesters were arrested and pleaded not guilty during two court hearings.