A group of climate activists who disrupted major galleries this week to send a message to the UK government have struck again. this time at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
On Tuesday morning, demonstrators from Just Stop Oil (JSO) glued themselves to a frame containing a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, believed to have been painted by two apprentices of the Italian Renaissance master. The activists also painted a “No New Oil” demand under the painting in white paint, a spokesman for the gallery confirmed to CNN.
Leonardo originally created The Last Supper, which depicts the moment Jesus tells his 12 disciples that one of them will betray him, as a fresco in Milan’s Santa Maria delle Grazie church between 1495 and 1497. the demonstrators attributed to Giampietrino and Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio were painted about 15 years later.
Just Stop Oil protesters are calling on the UK government to block future oil and gas production licenses and are warning of a bleak future unless action is taken to slow the effects of climate change.
Climate protesters glued themselves to a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting. Credit: James Manning/PA Images/Getty Images
The four protesters remained for more than three hours in the room containing the painting, which was closed to the public due to the demonstration, before they were removed by police, the gallery said. The representative added that the condition of the painting is assessed by the restorers of the Royal Academy.
The protest is the fifth time the band members have joined the famous piece of art in their series of demonstrations last week. Previous incidents involved a work by Vincent van Gogh at the Courtauld Gallery in London and a painting by J. M. W. Turner at the Manchester Art Gallery. Just Stop Oil also crashed the Formula One British Grand Prix while sitting on the race track at Silverstone on Sunday.
On Monday, the group modified a painting by John Constable before attaching it to the frame. Over the past week, JSOs have stuck to the frames of five paintings. Credit: Kirsty O’Connor/PA Images/Reuters
Just Stop Oil identified the demonstrators at the National Gallery as students Hannah Hunt and Eben Lazar. The London Metropolitan Police previously confirmed to CNN that two people were arrested on suspicion of criminal mischief and later released on bail pending further investigation.
Another member, 21-year-old art student Jessica Agar, demanded that art institutions join their cause.
“If the directors of this gallery really believe that art has the power to change the world, then I demand that they declare this power, close and refuse to open until the government commits itself to abandoning new oil,” she said.
The Royal Academy of Arts did not comment on Agar’s demand to close the gallery.