Protesters throw soup at Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' in London's National Gallery

Climate change activists arrested after gluing themselves to wall

The art attack by the two protesters, one wielding a soup can. Reuters
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Two climate change protesters have thrown tinned soup at Vincent van Gogh’s famous 1888 work Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London.

The pair threw two cans of Heinz tomato soup over the artwork shortly after 11am on Friday, before kneeling down in front of the painting and appearing to glue their hands to the wall beneath it.

Tomato soup covered the image, which is covered by glass, as well as parts of the golden frame.

Just Stop Oil tweeted a picture of the protesters, with one holding the tin in front of the painting.

They wrote: "Is art worth more than life? More than food? More than justice?"

The painting at the National Gallery is one of five versions of Sunflowers on display in museums and galleries around the world.

Police said they had arrested two people for criminal damage over the incident.

In a tweet from the Metropolitan Police Events account, the force said: “Officers were rapidly on scene at the National Gallery this morning after two Just Stop Oil protesters threw a substance over a painting and then glued themselves to a wall.

"Both have been arrested for criminal damage and aggravated trespass. Officers are now de-bonding them.”

The protesters claim that the Van Gogh has value of $84.2 million. The gallery had no immediate comment.

Sunflowers is the second, more famous, Van Gogh painting to be targeted by the group, with two climate activists gluing themselves to his 1889 Peach Trees in Blossom, exhibited at the Courtauld Gallery, at the end of June.

The work is also the second from the National Gallery to be selected as a target for protest action by Just Stop Oil, with two supporters gluing themselves to John Constable’s The Hay Wain on July 4.

They had attached their own “reimagined version” to the portrait, before gluing themselves to the frame.

The group's activists have been blocking roads around Parliament in the last few days.

Last Sunday, police said that more than 100 people had been arrested after a weekend of protest-related activity by environmental groups.

Climate activists glue themselves to artworks in protest - in pictures

Updated: October 14, 2022, 2:14 PM