Three people were arrested on Thursday by Dutch police after environmental activists targeted Johannes Vermeer’s painting The Girl with a Pearl Earring, the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague and the police have learned. The three people are of Belgian nationality, the police said at the end of the afternoon.
Two people approached the painting and a third threw an unknown substance on it, but the work, protected under glass, was not damaged, the Mauritshuis said in a statement to AFP.
Images on social media showed activists wearing “Just Stop Oil” t-shirts.
This action comes on the heels of other acts of vandalism in recent weeks. Environmental activists threw tomato soup on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London and smeared mashed potatoes on a painting by Claude Monet in Germany.
“Around 2 p.m., two people glued themselves to the earring of the Young Girl with The Pearl by Johannes Vermeer“, said the Mauritshuis in a press release to AFP.
“One person stuck his head to the painting, which was protected by glass, and the other person stuck his hand to the wall where the painting hangs. A third person threw an unknown substance on the board“, continued the museum.
“Our experts immediately inspected the painting. Luckily it was not damaged“. The painting will be exposed again”as soon as possible“, specified the museum.
“Art cannot defend itself and attempt to damage it for any cause, is something we strongly condemn“, added the Mauritshuis.
Police in The Hague tweeted that they had arrested three people at a museum for “public violence against property“.
Dozens of people were gathered inside the museum awaiting information about the incident, while security guards prevented them from getting too close to the other paintings.
The entrance to the room where the “Girl with a Pearl Earring” normally sits was blocked by a large oil painting reproduction and a guard said it would likely be closed for the rest of the day.
Two police vans were parked outside the museum as the investigation continued.