Insensitive eco-warriors are, unfortunately, back in the headlines as they defaced a painting by legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh.
Just Stop Oil, the group behind the shameless tactic, attracted headlines earlier this year when one of their cronies tied themselves to a goalpost during a Premier League match between Everton and Newcastle United.
The group has gone from disrupting the nation’s favourite pastime to damaging the work of a world-class artist. In room 43 of London’s famed National Gallery, two Just Stop Oil members broke in and threw a can of cup over Van Gogh’s iconic Sunflowers painting, painted in the 19th century.
Van Gogh, who committed suicide at the age of 37, is one of the most celebrated painters ever and he continues to be lauded long after his 1890 death. He famously severed a piece of his left ear and spent his remaining few years suffering from severe mental health problems.
Though the man himself is long gone, the beautiful artwork he created will remain forever and he continues to be highly influential with artists from all over the world. It’s a travesty, then, that his artwork had to suffer the wrath of rude, entitled climate protesters with nothing better to do. The one question I had, and continue to have, on my mind is - ‘’what does Vincent Van Gogh have to do with any of this?’’
The late artist cannot defend himself and is entirely irrelevant in nuanced discussions about climate change. Fortunately, the painting itself was undamaged as it is thankfully protected by a glass case, though sections of the frame received minor damage.
New Scotland Yard
Just Stop Oil also attacked the famous sign outside New Scotland Yard, before being inevitably arrested for vandalism. Ironically, the group has come under fire for their heavy use of cryptocurrency - a payment method that greatly harms the environment due to its energy consumption. Still, I would bet that this irony is lost on Just Stop Oil, who continue to be the answer to the question that nobody asked.
The two vandals behind the Sunflowers incident appeared in court just two days after the National Gallery debacle, where they pleaded not guilty to their charges. They were released on bail, but only on the condition that neither of them wander into a public place armed with paint or adhesives.
The circus that is Just Stop Oil will most likely go on, and God only knows what they have planned in the future. Maybe next time, they’ll plan to throw sunflower seeds over Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup Cans painting.
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