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 Art in London.
On Tuesday morning, Just Stop Oil (JSO) protesters taped themselves to a frame containing a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, believed to have been painted by two of the Italian Renaissance master’s students. The activists also spray-painted the slogan “No New Oil” in white under the painting, a gallery spokesman confirmed to CNN.
Leonardo originally created ‘The Last Supper’ as a fresco in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan between 1495 and 1497, depicting the moment when Jesus tells his 12 disciples that he will be betrayed by one of the possession of demonstrators, attributed to Giampietrino and Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio was painted some 15 years later.
Just Stop Oil protesters are calling on the UK government to block future oil and gas exploration licenses and warn of a bleak future if action is not taken to slow the effects of climate change.
Climate protesters taped themselves to a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting. Recognition: James Manning/PA Images/Getty Images
Four protesters remained in the room housing the painting, which was closed to the public because of the demonstration, for more than three hours before they were removed by police, according to the gallery. The spokesman added that the condition of the painting is being assessed by conservators from the Royal Academy.
The protest marks the fifth time members of the group have attached themselves to a famous work of art in their line of demonstrations over the past week. Earlier incidents involved a work by Vincent Van Gogh at London’s Courtauld Gallery and a painting by JMW Turner at the Manchester Art Gallery. Just Stop Oil also disrupted the Formula 1 British Grand Prix by sitting at the Silverstone circuit on Sunday.
The group modified a painting by John Constable on Monday before attaching themselves to the frame. JSO has glued himself to the frames of five paintings in the past week. Recognition: Kirsty O’Connor/PA Images/Reuters
Just Stop Oil identified the protesters at the National Gallery as students Hannah Hunt and Eben Lazarus. London’s Metropolitan Police previously confirmed to CNN that two people were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and later released on bail pending further investigation.
Another member, 21-year-old art student Jessica Agar, also called on arts institutions to join her cause.
“If the directors of this gallery truly believe that art has the power to change the world, then I demand that they claim that power, close and refuse to open until the government commits to new oil,” he said you.
The Royal Academy of Art has not commented on Agar’s request that the gallery be closed.