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Johannes Vermeer’s masterpiece “Girl with a Pearl Earring” was back on display at a museum in The Hague on Friday, a day after being targeted by climate activists.
Three men were arrested on Thursday after they glued themselves to the Dutch master’s famous 1665 painting at the city’s Mauritshuis museum during peak visiting hours.
“We are glad to say that at 3:30 pm (1330 GMT) the ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ was put back in her rightful spot in the Mauritshuis by members of our staff,” the museum said.
“We are incredibly grateful that The Girl remained undamaged and is back in her familiar place so quickly,” museum director Martine Gosselink added.
Vermeer’s work – which has inspired a best-selling novel and a Hollywood movie – was examined in the museum’s conservation studio and found to be undamaged, the museum added.
The climate activists, three Belgians in their forties, were arrested shortly after the incident, which stunned visitors and forced museum staff to cordon off the area.
Social media images showed a man wearing a “Just Stop Oil” T-shirt gluing his head to the glass protecting the canvas, while another glued his hand to the wall and a third emptied out a tin of what appeared to be tomato soup.
The climate activists said they had not intended to damage the painting, which Gosselink described as very vulnerable.
Just Stop Oil, which wants urgent action to stop global warming making the planet unlivable, explained on its website that it had begun using shock tactics targeting iconic works of art to make people think about what they considered precious and how to protect it.
“It enables a conversation,” the coalition of anti-fossil fuel groups said.
“There’s an apocalyptic, climate-driven famine in Somalia, which hasn’t pushed me to say anything. But I’m venting my anger now over a work of art in a gallery. Does any of this add up? What do I really value here?”
The stunt at the Mauritshuis comes after activists threw soup at Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” at the National Gallery in London on October 14 and smeared mashed potato over a Claude Monet painting in Germany. Both canvasses were protected by glass and were undamaged.
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