Climate protesters glue themselves to John Constable masterpiece
LONDON – Climate protesters have attached their own “apocalyptic vision of the future” to a John Constable masterpiece in the National Gallery.
Two activists from Just Stop Oil (JSO) stepped over the rope barrier in front of the Hay Wain oil painting before attaching their own version.
Then they glued themselves to its frame, National Gallery (NG) said.
Art lovers, tourists and 11-year-old schoolchildren were among those ushered out of the room.
NG said police attended at about 14:25 BST and removed the protesters by 16:40. They were then arrested. The painting was removed from the wall and examined by NG’s conservation team who found it had minor damage to its frame and some “disruption to the surface of the varnish on the painting – both of which have now been successfully dealt with”, NG added.
The protesters, a man and a woman wearing white T-shirts with the slogan Just Stop Oil, each placed a hand on the frame of the painting and kneeled beneath it before loudly stating their concerns as visitors were directed out by security staff, NG said. They were later named by JSO as music student Eben Lazarus, 22, and psychology student Hannah Hunt, 23, both of Brighton.
Painted in 1821, the Hay Wain shows a hay wagon travelling across fields in the Suffolk countryside. It is one of the most popular paintings in the National Gallery.
JSO said they had attached an “apocalyptic vision of the future” that depicts “the climate collapse and what it will do to this landscape”.
The colour printout shows double yellow lines and pollution. Mr Lazarus, who described himself as an art lover, said: “Art is important, it should be held for future generations to see, but when there is no food what use is art? “When there is no water, what use is art? When billions of people are in pain and suffering, what use then is art? “We have stuck a reimagined version of the Hay Wain that demonstrates our road to disaster.” The painting will be rehung in Room 34 ready for when the National Gallery opens today (Wednesday).