Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Climate Activist Vandals in Britain Attack 90 Million Dollar Masterpiece in "Rokeby Venus" in the London National Gallery

It was not immediately clear how badly the painting itself was damaged, or whether the activists will be charged with a crime

A pair of climate activist vandals in a London museum took hammers to attack a $90,000 painting on Monday, Nov. 6th. The painting from 1651, depicts the goddess Venus reclining and looking into a mirror help by her son, Cupid. After attacking the masterpiece with hammers, the couple naturally delivered a speech.

"Women did not get the vote by voting. It is time for deeds and not words,” said the female destroyer. “Politics has failed us!” continued her boyfriend. Hopefully they’ll get a lot of time in prison to trade ideas.

"Just Stop Oil lunatics took hammers and attacked Rokeby Venus, painted in 1651 ($90M) in the London National Gallery”. The video may be seen at

The two activists targeted Velázquez's "The Toilet of Venus," also known as "The Rokeby Venus," with small hammers. Photos showed the protective glass panel punctured with several holes. It was not immediately unclear how badly the painting itself was damaged, or whether the activists will be charged with a crime.

The Rokeby Venus is a painting by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age. Completed between 1647 and 1651, and probably painted during the artist's visit to Italy, the work depicts the goddess Venus in a sensual pose, lying on a bed with her back facing the viewer, and looking into a mirror held by the Roman god of physical love, her son Cupid. The painting is in the National Gallery, London. Numerous works, from the ancient to the baroque, have been cited as sources of inspiration for Velázquez.

In March 1914, a suffragette named Mary Richardson entered the National Gallery with a butcher’s knife secreted in her sleeve. She was on a mission to “destroy the picture of the most beautiful woman in mythological history”.

She ended up slashing the Rokeby Venus five times in the name of women’s rights. Her action was ostensibly provoked by the arrest of fellow suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst the previous day. Richardson received 6 months in jail.

It’s not the first time Just Stop Oil has taken a tactic from the suffragette playbook. It has been noted that their other attacks on art, like the one in October 2022 when Just Stop Oil protesters threw tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers, emulated Richardson’s action.


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