Van Gogh’s painting souped up in latest climate protest in London

Activists have thrown tomato soup over a painting inside the National Gallery in London

Big Zero Report 2022

Climate activists have thrown tomato soup on one of the most popular paintings hosted in the National Gallery in London.

Two supporters of Just Stop Oil have thrown soup over Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’, a painting that has an estimated value of $84.2 million (£75.2m).

The campaigners said through this action they wanted to force the government to halt all new oil and gas projects.

A similar protest took place in July when two other activists glued themselves onto the frame of a Constable painting at the National Gallery after covering it with a reimagined version.

Phoebe Plummer, a supporter of Just Stop Oil, said: “Is art worth more than life? More than food? More than justice? The cost of living crisis is driven by fossil fuels – everyday life has become unaffordable for millions of cold hungry families – they can’t even afford to heat a tin of soup.”

Anna Holland, a Just Stop Oil member, said: “Millions are being forced to move and tens of thousands face starvation. This is the future we choose for ourselves if we push for new oil and gas.”

A National Gallery spokesperson told ELN: “At just after 11am this morning two people entered Room 43 of the National Gallery.

“The pair appeared to glue themselves to the wall adjacent to Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’. They also threw a red substance – what appears to be tomato soup – over the painting. 

“The room was cleared of visitors and police were called. Officers are now on the scene. There is some minor damage to the frame but the painting is unharmed.

Two people have been arrested.”

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