Just Stop Oil Activist Glues His Head to “Girl With a Pearl Earring” Painting

Just Stop Oil Activist Glues His Head to Vermeer's "Girl With a Pearl Earring", Showed by Video Which appeared on Twitter on October 27

Oct 28, 2022By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Just Stop Oil activist
Edited by Angela Davic



Twitter video precisely shows Just Stop Oil activist gluing his head to Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” painting. Vermeer’s painting is the most recent one that climate activists attacked. The painting is behind glass at the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague.


Museum Visitor Screams at Just Stop Oil Activists – “Shame on you!”

Girl with a diamond pearl earring
Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (ca.1665).
Photo by Michel Porro/Getty Images.


Video shows two men wearing Just Stop Oil T-Shirts outside the painting. One of them tried to superglue his head to the artwork. The other one poured what seemed to be tomato soup from a can on him.


Nevertheless, museum representatives said there is no damage to the painting. “The police arrested three subjects, all Belgian men in their 40s. The gallery where the work is normally on view has been temporarily closed to the public”, says the museum.


Museum conservators are also investigating the condition of the painting. “The Girl with a Pearl Earring will be back on view as soon as possible”, the museum said in a statement. “Art is defenseless, and the Mauritshuis firmly rejects attempts to damage it for any purpose whatsoever.”

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Painter Johannes Vermeer


Those Just Stop Oil Activists also had a few memorable words to say. “How do you feel when you see something beautiful and priceless being destroyed before your eyes? Do you feel outrage? Good”. The other one screamed, “Where is that feeling when you see the planet being destroyed before our very eyes?”


The protester attempted to reassure other museum visitors that the artwork is behind the glass, but one onlooker yelled, “Shame on you!” in response.


“You can never 100% prevent protest actions” – Museum Spokesperson

Just Stop Oil activist, planet
Getty; The Atlantic


Visitors also shouted “Obscene”. “Stupid” and “Get away from there”. To this, he responded that even though the painting in under protection, the “future of our children is not”. A spokesperson for the museum, René Timmermans, says they were prepared for incidents like this one. “Internally, there has been lots of consultation about what extra measures we can take” Timmermans said.


Timmermans declined to say what those measures might be, but said that while visitors could carry only “a small handbag” into the museum. On the other hand, searching them would be too much. “You can never 100% prevent protest actions”, he said.


To remind you, Just Stop Oil and other like-minded organizations received extensive media attention for a recent wave of museum-based protests. The most recent actions include hurling tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s painting Sunflowers at London’s National Gallery.


Climate activists, Monet painting
Climate protesters of Last Generation after throwing mashed potatoes at the Claude Monet painting “Les Meules” at Potsdam’s Barberini Museum on Sunday Oct. 24, 2022, to protest fossil fuel extraction.ASSOCIATED PRESS


Also, throwing mashed potatoes at Claude Monet’s Haystacks at the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany. Scientist Rebellion activists, meanwhile, recently adhered themselves to the Volkswagen Museum in Wolfsburg.


By linking the delicate nature of historical artworks to the severe peril facing our planet, activists are striving to walk a tight line without really damaging our shared cultural legacy.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.