LONDON — Two climate change protesters were arrested after they glued themselves to the frame of a famous John Constable painting hanging in Britain’s National Gallery, the central London museum and police said.
The two, from the protest group “Just Stop Oil,” stepped over a rope barrier on Monday and covered “The Hay Wain” with large sheets of paper depicting “an apocalyptic vision of the future” of the landscape. They then each placed a hand on the frame of the oil painting and protested as security staff ushered out tourists and a group of schoolchildren.
“The painting was removed from the wall to be examined by our conservation team,” the National Gallery said afterward. “‘The Hay Wain’ suffered minor damage to its frame and there was also some disruption to the surface of the varnish on the painting — both of which have now been successfully dealt with.”
The National Gallery said the painting was rehung Tuesday.
“Just Stop Oil,” which wants the government to stop giving out licenses for new oil and gas projects, said their version of Constable’s 1821 painting of a rural landscape shows “how oil will destroy our countryside.” Their picture shows pollution on the horizon and an old car dumped in front of the mill in the painting.
The Metropolitan Police said officers were called to a protest inside the National Gallery Monday afternoon. It said two people were arrested.
The protest came after “Just Stop Oil” activists targeted other art galleries in the U.K. last week and disrupted the British Grand Prix race on Sunday by sitting down on the track during a halt in the Formula One race.
Police said six people were charged with conspiracy to cause public nuisance at the race.