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Environmental activists attack Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”

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  • Reading time:5 mins read

The action comes on the heels of other acts of vandalism in recent weeks: tomato soup on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London and mashed potatoes on a painting by Claude Monet in Germany.


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TThree people were arrested by Dutch police on Thursday after environmental activists targeted the painting The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague and the police have learned.


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.

Images on social media showed activists wearing “Just Stop Oil” t-shirts.

“Around 2 p.m., two people stuck to the earring of the Young Girl with The Pearl by Johannes Vermeer,” the Mauritshuis said in a statement to AFP. “One person stuck their head against the painting, which was protected by glass, and the other person stuck their hand against the wall where the painting hangs. A third person threw an unknown substance at the painting,” the museum continued. “Our experts immediately inspected the painting. Fortunately, it was not damaged”.

The painting will be exhibited again “as soon as possible”, said the museum. “Art cannot defend itself and attempt to damage it for any reason, is something we strongly condemn,” the Mauritshuis added. Police in The Hague said on Twitter 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 other paintings, an AFP journalist noted.

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.