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Protesters glue themselves to Constable masterpiece

Published on 2023-06-03 08:58:50 source:NBC News

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 on Tuesday.

Earlier this week JSO allegedly targeted a Scottish art gallery and stormed Sunday's British Grand Prix.

A 19th-century landscape by Horatio McCulloch called My Heart's In The Highlands was the target of five JSO members, who are also alleged to have sprayed the group's logo on the walls and floor of Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

And a track invasion during the opening lap of the race at Silverstone saw five men, aged between 21 and 46, and two women, 20 and 44, arrested.

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