Recently, a surprising event took place at London‘s National Gallery. Two activists made a bold statement by attacking a well-known painting by Diego Velázquez named “The Toilet of Venus.” The incident happened around 11 a.m., and the activists were arrested. The painting had to be taken down so experts could check it.
National Gallery: The Attack Unfolds
The whole incident was recorded on video and shared by a group called “Just Stop Oil.” In the video, two people wearing white shirts with the words “Just Stop Oil” in big, black letters can be seen. They crossed a low rope barrier in front of the painting. They used special hammers that seemed like tools for emergencies to hit the glass that protects the artwork. After some strikes, they dropped their hammers and spoke to the people in the gallery.
A Message Behind the Protest
One of the activists talked in the video, saying that actions speak louder than words. She mentioned the suffragette movement, where women fought for their right to vote, not just by talking but by taking strong actions. The activists worried about the harm that might come from new oil and gas projects. They called for direct action. Then, they sat down in front of the painting and held hands.
The video also mentioned a march in London organized by “Just Stop Oil” on November 18. It’s clear that this protest aimed to make people more aware of environmental problems and the impact of oil and gas production.
National Gallery: About the Painting
“The Toilet of Venus,” also known as “The Rokeby Venus,” is a very important piece in the National Gallery. Diego Velázquez painted it between 1647 and 1651. The painting shows the Roman goddess Venus, who is naked, lying with her back to the viewer, and looking into a mirror held by her son, Cupid. You can see Venus’s reflection in the mirror.
Not the First Attack
This painting has faced an attack before, just as the activists mentioned. In 1914, Mary Richardson, a suffragette, entered the National Gallery and used a meat cleaver to damage the painting. She left seven deep cuts on Venus’s body. Luckily, the painting fully fixed after that.
In conclusion, the recent attack on “The Toilet of Venus” at the National Gallery reminds us of the ongoing concerns about the environment. Some people believe that strong actions needed to protect it. While their protest might be surprising, it shows how passionate and dedicated some people are to safeguarding the environment. The painting’s history and its ability to survive past attacks make this incident even more important.