Oil Protesters Throw Tomato Soup on Iconic van Gogh Painting

Oil Protesters Throw Tomato Soup on Iconic van Gogh Painting

One of Van Gogh's most iconic works was covered in tomato soup by climate protesters.

On Friday, October 14, two activists affiliated with the Just Stop Oil climate campaign were arrested after throwing two cans of Heinz soup on a painting from the Dutch Post-Impressionist's "Sunflowers"series, which was on display at London's National Gallery.

According to reports, the two women also glued themselves to the wall beneath the piece, similar to the other climate change protesters who've been doing the same thing around the world. The glue requiring specialists to remove them from the wall before being arrested by the London Metropolitan Police later saying that for “criminal damage and aggravated trespass.” A statement issued by the National Gallery confirmed to the publication that the $80.99 million artwork was "unharmed" as it was covered by glass. However, they said that there was "some minor damage to the frame."

The Guardianlater identified the activists as 21-year-old Phoebe Plummer and 20-year-old Anna Holland, who were there to bring international attention to the UK government's handling of the climate change and its ongoing support of fossil fuel extraction.

As Just Stop Oil spokesperson Mel Carrington explained to the New York Times, the group has been protesting in London for the past two weeks “in response to the government’s inaction on both the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis.” She also went on to say that "Sunflowers" wasn't of any particular significance to their cause and the group made sure it was glazed to ensure that the painting would survive the attack. That said, she did say that Just Stop Oil purposefully choose soup, with Carrington saying that many struggling British families struggling to pay for a can of soup due to inflation.

“Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?," as Plummer reportedly said, per the Guardian. "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."

View footage of the incident below.

Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art