Protestors from the activist group Just Stop Oil have smashed the protective glass of a painting at The National Gallery in London.
The ‘Rokeby Venus’ painting was created by Diego Velazquez in the 1600s. Notably, the artwork was previously hacked by suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914 at the same historic gallery in London. However, it was later restored to mint condition and put back on display.
Just Stop Oil have named the perpetrators as Hanan and Harrison, who are both in their early 20s. The organisation said in a statement: “Women did not get the vote by voting; it is time for deeds not words. It is time to Just Stop Oil.”
The continued: “Politics is failing us. It failed women in 1914 and it is failing us now. New oil and gas will kill millions. If we love art, if we love life, if we love our families, we must Just Stop Oil.”
Additionally, a spokesperson for the National Gallery said: “At just before 11am this morning (6 November 2023) two people entered Room 30 of the National Gallery. The pair appeared to strike The Toilet of Venus (‘The Rokeby Venus’) (1647-1651) by Velázquez with what appeared to be emergency rescue hammers.”
The statement continued: “The room was cleared of visitors and police were called. Officers are now on the scene. Two people have been arrested. The painting is now being removed from display so it can be examined by Conservators.”