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Mbumba T Nkhoma

20 Oct 2022

Activists from Just Stop Oil have thrown tomato soup over  Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London


If Artists should take the heat for making choices that erected the work that we now appreciate and love after they are long gone, is entirely up to you to decide. A coalition of groups working together to ensure that the government commits to ending all new licenses for the exploration, development, and production of fossil fuels in the UK popularly known as JUST STOP OIL has of late been making headlines in the visuals sector from attacks on the Last supper painting by Leonardo Da Vinci to now the very adored Sunflower Painting by Vincent Van  Gogh. Activists from Just Stop Oil have thrown tomato soup over  Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London in protest to the disassociation of the point that Van Gogh's paintings were oil-basedGogh's and that somehow this is affecting the current climate and economical haywire the world is in now.

The two young supporters of the climate protest group threw the canned liquid over the painting, which is protected by glass, they then removed jackets to reveal Just Stop Oil T-shirts before gluing themselves to the wall beneath the artwork, which is one of the gallery’s most important treasures.

Vincent Van Gogh Starry Night

 One of the activists, Phoebe Plummer, 21, from London, chanted out “What is worth more, art or life?” in the company of her fellow activist 20-year-old Anna Holland, from Newcastle continued to exclaim “Is it worth more than food? More than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?”

National Gallery staff quickly cleared the room. The gallery has since confirmed the painting was not harmed, saying in a statement that after the protesters threw “what appears to be tomato soup” over the painting.

Vincent Van Gogh skeleton smoking

The group has been staging sit-down protests on roads around central London, infuriating drivers and commuters, but the recent activity appears to be an escalation of its tactics.

The picture is one of the most famous images in the world, painted by the Van Gogh when he lived in the south of France. The image, like so much of the Dutch artist’s work, celebrates the beauty of ordinary everyday objects – a flower, a chair, a shoe. In 1987, one of the series was sold for $39m.



Self portrait artist panel board- Van Gogh


Vincent Willem van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist artist. In only a decade, Van Gogh created a prolific body of more than 2,000 works of art. Most of his 1,100 drawings and works on paper and nearly 900 oil paintings were produced during the last two years of his life. Van Gogh's landscapesstill lifesportraits, and self-portraits are characterized by vibrant contrasts of complementary colors, expressive brushwork, and abstract, linear planes inspired by the Japanese prints he collected and admired. His innovations contributed to the foundations of modern art.

Vincent van Gogh is perhaps one of the most famous artists in the world, and looked upon as the ‘mad’ artist. With lack of genuine artistic understanding, some will look at his work as mere visual manifestations and depictions of his troubled mind. Even though not so far from the truth, his innovative and uniqueness in painting style has proved a level of enormous importance as many renowned artists have followed suit in his wake. The life of van Gogh as a painter was short lived with minimal public buying appreciation during his time as his distinctive style failed to be accepted socially. His Paintings however revolutionized artistic practice and style.

His works have varied in the years of his exploration, in his practice of  intense vision, his immense and wonderful sense of colour and his extraordinary boldness of his painting technique created a profound influence on the art of the twentieth century.

Van Gogh was en route to creating a fresh breath of a post impressionistic style of brush strokes advancement leading to the day of his death at the tender age of 37. on July 27, 1890, Vincent Van Gogh was shot dead in the stomach and Passed away in the wee hours of July 29, 1890, in his room at the Auberge Ravoux in the Village of Auvers-sur-Oise in northern France. Although Official historical autopsy suggests that Van Gogh committed suicide, recent research reveals that the shot might have been an accident.


I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.”

- Quote By Vincent van Gogh



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