Anti-oil campaigners in the UK have a new protest tactic: Gluing themselves to famous works of art

As it happens I was just in the National Gallery in London last Friday perusing paintings by Turner, Monet and Vincent van Gogh. Monday, a pair of anti-fossil fuel campaigners entered the museum, covered a painting by John Constable with an image they’d made themselves and then glued their hands to the frame of the painting. Here’s what Constable’s ‘The Hay Wain’ looks like.

And here’s video of the protesters after it was covered with their own dystopian version of the image. I haven’t seen any explanation for why the staff who are present in nearly every room of the National Gallery stood by and allowed this.

CNN has a report on the protest:

Completed in 1821, “The Hay Wain” is among Britain’s best-known artworks. Depicting the Stour river, which divides the English counties of Suffolk and Essex, it is considered one of Constable’s quintessential paintings.

The protesters’ modified version saw the river replaced with a paved road, with factory smokestacks depicted in the background and airplanes flying overhead.

Just Stop Oil, which is calling for the UK government to block licenses for future oil and gas extraction, has since identified the demonstrators as students Hannah Hunt and Eben Lazarus. London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed to CNN that two people had been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and were later released on bail pending further inquiries.

There’s already an interesting story about one of these two activists which has popped up at the Daily Mail. It turns out the female half of this pair, Hannah Hunt, has spent a lot of time traveling around the world.

MailOnline can reveal that Miss Hunt, 23, is the co-founder of Just Stop Oil whose social media pages are adorned with exotic holiday pictures from locations including south-east Asia, Australia and the Canary Islands. Earlier this year she glued herself to the red carpet at the Bafta awards, and she has broken into an ExxonMobil oil refinery in Hampshire.

The former XR supporter even used the long haul trips to try to bolster her environmental credentials, telling social media followers from Bali: ‘Can we look back in another 50 years and say we did everything to protect our pretty cool planet?’…

The student co-founded Just Stop Oil in February, marching on No 10 to tell Boris Johnson to ‘intervene’ to prevent ‘the ultimate crime against our country, humanity and life on Earth’.

The aspiring psychologist has become a hero among eco-zealot supporters of the group, which formed as a breakaway of Extinction Rebellion.

The incident at the National Gallery happened Monday. Today, members of the same group glued themselves to another piece of art, this time at the Royal Academy of Arts.

The original Last Supper is located in Milan. This is a copy which was painted in the early 16th century and which contains some detail now lost in the original.

The Last Supper was executed not in traditional fresco, but in tempera and oil paint on a dry wall. The original has deteriorated very badly as a result of this experimental technique and the dampness of the wall on which it is painted. This early copy, possibly painted around 1520, or even as early as 1515 is almost the same size as the original but lacks the top third of Leonardo’s composition. It does however shows details that are not now visible in the original, such as the salt-cellar overturned by the right arm of Judas and the feet of Jesus which were lost when another door was inserted in the refectory wall.

Historically the work was attributed to Marco d’Oggiono (c.1467-1524) and this was the artist named linked to the copy when the Royal Academy bought the painting. More recently it has been attributed to Giampietrino, a pupil of Leonardo although there is also the suggestion that Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio (1467-1516) may have worked on this copy as well.

Of course the whole point of these stunts is to garner media attention and that seems to be working out for this group so far. Here’s there spokesperson Emma Brown. As you’ll see, people try reasoning with her, pointing out for instance that people can freeze to death if there’s not enough energy for heating in the winter, but she doesn’t care. It’s easy to be a campaigner when you’re not going to be held responsible for any of the outcomes that would stem from your own recommendations.

Finally, a good suggestion from Iowahawk on possible future protest action.