Arts

Climate Protester Glues His Head to ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’ Painting


A climate protester glued his head to “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” the famous painting by Johannes Vermeer that was on exhibit at a museum in The Hague on Thursday, the latest in a series of actions by activists that have targeted world-renowned paintings in recent months as the protesters have sought to draw attention to climate change.

The stunts have recently included hurling mashed potatoes at a painting by Claude Monet and splattering soup on a painting by Vincent van Gogh.

Vermeer’s much-celebrated painting from 1665 is part of the collection at the Mauritshuis, a small museum exhibiting Dutch and Flemish paintings from the 17th century.

The one-minute video clip of the action shows a man coming close to the painting and gluing his head to it. At the same time, another man adheres his hand to the wall next to the artwork and pours a red substance on the first man’s head and body.

The protester who glued his hand to the wall addresses onlookers who have gathered around. People can be heard gasping, expressing their outrage and calling the pair “obscene.”

“How do you feel when you see something beautiful and priceless being apparently destroyed before your eyes?” the protester said. “Do you feel outraged? Good. Where is that feeling when you see the planet being destroyed before your very eyes?”

He then assures other patrons that the painting is protected by glass, a statement which seemingly does little to blunt their anger. Several people can be heard telling him to “shut up.”

René Timmermans, a spokesman for the Mauritshuis museum, confirmed that the incident occurred around 2 p.m. local time. He said that the artwork, under a layer of glass, was not damaged and that it would be back on view “as soon as possible.”

The two young activists who tossed the soup spoke at an online meeting hosted by Just Stop Oil on Thursday. They said that the action had been empowering, even as they were fueled by fear and anger about the climate crisis and the instability it poses for their futures.



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