Vincent Van Gogh Painting Targeted by Soup-Throwing Climate Activists in Rome

The activists, after throwing the vegetable purée on the work 'Il seminatore', protected by a glass, stuck to the wall and shouted slogans against the use of coal and climate change, Rome, 4 November 2022.
The activists, after throwing the vegetable purée on the work 'Il seminatore', protected by a glass, stuck to the wall and shouted slogans against the use of coal and climate change, Rome, 4 November 2022.

ANSA via ZUMA Press

A Vincent van Gogh painting in Rome has become the latest artwork to be targeted by climate change protestors.

On Friday, four activists threw vegetable soup on van Gogh's "The Sower," which is currently housed in Rome's Palazzo Bonaparte museum, ANSA reported. Thankfully, the painting sustained no damage as it was protected by a glass screen.

The protestors also glued themselves to the wall surrounding the artwork and reportedly shouted slogans tied to the threat of climate change, the outlet added. The group is said to be linked to the Ultima Generazione group, Wanted in Rome reported, citing Italian media.

"We were expecting it," Arthemisia President and Managing Director Iole Siena told ANSA in a statement. "[There has been] no damage, but it is a useless gesture."

"The Sower" is currently on loan to the Palazzo Bonaparte museum from the Kröller-Müller museum in the Netherlands as part of an exhibition centered around van Gogh's works, according to ANSA.

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The sower
The sower

Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

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The Friday incident isn't the first time that a Van Gogh painting has been targeted by climate activists in recent months.

Back in October, two protestors shocked guests at London's National Gallery when they threw two cans of tomato soup on one of van Gogh's "Sunflowers" paintings. The work was painted by van Gogh in the late 1880s and is one of six surviving works depicting sunflowers by the famous artist, per The New York Times.

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The soup caused minor damage to a gilded frame around the painting, but the artwork itself — protected by a layer of glass — was unharmed, the Associated Press said. As with Rome, after throwing soup at the painting, the activists squeezed glue onto one of their hands and stuck it on a wall.

According to ABC News, the British activists were members of Just Stop Oil, a group that has staged similar stunts to demand the U.K. government halts new oil and gas licenses to help slow climate change. Police arrested both of the activists for criminal damage and aggravated trespassing, according to The Guardian.

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There have been various other instances over the past months involving climate activists targeting other famous artworks.

In October, two activists were arrested by German police after they allegedly threw mashed potato at a Claude Monet painting in an effort to bring attention to climate change.

That same month, two protestors from the group Extinction Rebellion glued their hands to the protective layer covering Pablo Picasso's "Massacre en Corée" (Massacre in Korea) at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

In July, Just Stop Oil protestors glued themselves to a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" at London's Royal Academy of Arts.

In 2019, a series of studies published in Nature and Nature Geoscience claimed that temperature rises around the planet over the last 150 years are part of a normal cycle in nature and that there was "no doubt" humans are playing a part in climate change.