Climate activists hurl pea soup at Van Gogh painting in Rome

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Climate activists hurl pea soup at Van Gogh painting in Rome
Activists from Italy's environmental group Last Generation threw soup at Van Gogh's 'The Sower' on Friday. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

A group of activists on Friday threw pea soup at a Vincent Van Gogh masterpiece in Rome, in a protest that they warned will continue until more attention is paid to climate change.


Activists from Italian environmental group Last Generation threw pea soup at 1888 masterpiece 'The Sower', displayed at Rome's Palazzo Bonaparte.

'The Sower', depicting a farmer sowing his land under a dominating sun, was exhibited behind glass and remained undamaged, according to news reports.

All four individuals involved in the attack were arrested.


Climate activists from Last Generation said the demonstration was "a desperate and scientifically grounded cry that cannot be understood as mere vandalism".

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"Non-violent direct action will continue until citizens get answers from their government on the demands to stop gas and coal and to invest in at least 20 GW of renewables," they added.

A series of attacks by Last Generation and other environmental groups have involved throwing soup, cake or mashed potatoes at prestigious paintings by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Vermeer and Van Gogh.


In October, the group Just Stop Oil threw tomato soup over Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' at London's National Gallery. That painting, also protected by glass, was undamaged.

"Everything that we would have the right to see in our present and our future is being obscured by a real and imminent catastrophe, just as this pea puree has covered the work in the fields..." Last Generation said in its statement on Friday.

Italy's culture minister, Gennaro Sangiuliano, promptly denounced the protest, calling it an "ignoble act that must be strongly condemned".

"Culture, which is the basis of our identity, should be defended and protected, certainly not used as a megaphone for other forms of protest," Sangiuliano said in a statement.

'The Sower' is on show at Rome's Palazzo Bonaparte and is part of an exhibition of 50 paintings by the Dutch master on loan from the Kroller Muller museum in Otterlo.

The exhibition organisers, Arthemisia, did not immediately respond to a request for more information on the attack.



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