London’s National Gallery was shaken today as The Toilet of Venus, a renowned painting also known as “The Rokeby Venus” by Diego Velázquez, fell victim to a disturbing act of vandalism. The masterpiece, created between 1647 and 1651, has long been cherished as one of the most celebrated works in the gallery’s esteemed collection. Generously bestowed upon the institution by the National Art Collections Fund (now the Art Fund) in 1906 after an impassioned fundraising campaign, it seemed safe from harm until today.
In a concerning turn of events, the painting became the target for two individuals affiliated with the climate activist group Just Stop Oil. Hoping to voice their opposition against the issuance of new oil and gas licenses in the UK, the group shared video footage of the attack on their social media account on X.
This is not the first time The Toilet of Venus has experienced such hostility. Over a century ago, in 1914, the suffragette Mary Richardson infamously attacked the painting, leaving deep gashes on the canvas. Thanks to extensive restoration efforts, the artwork was beautifully revived.
A spokesperson for the National Gallery confirmed the incident and provided insight into the distressing sequence of events. They revealed that at around 11 am, two individuals entered Room 30, where The Toilet of Venus was on display. Armed with what appeared to be emergency rescue hammers, the assailants struck the sacred artwork. Promptly, the room was evacuated, and law enforcement authorities were promptly summoned. A swift response resulted in the arrest of the two perpetrators.
To ensure its preservation, the painting is being temporarily removed from public display. Expert conservators will meticulously examine the artwork, assessing the extent of the damage and formulating a restoration plan. While the incident is undeniably distressing, it serves as a reminder of the unending battle between the pursuit of art and the challenges faced in preserving history.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is The Toilet of Venus?
The Toilet of Venus, also known as “The Rokeby Venus,” is a famous painting created by Diego Velázquez between 1647 and 1651. It depicts the Roman goddess Venus lying with her back facing the viewer.
2. Who attacked The Toilet of Venus?
Two individuals associated with the climate activist group Just Stop Oil targeted The Toilet of Venus in an act of protest against the awarding of new oil and gas licenses in the UK.
3. Has the painting been attacked before?
Yes, The Toilet of Venus was famously attacked by the suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914, leaving deep gashes on the canvas. However, it was fully restored after the incident.
4. What happened after the recent attack?
Following the incident, law enforcement authorities swiftly arrested the assailants. The painting has been temporarily removed from public display to undergo examination and restoration by expert conservators.
5. When was The Toilet of Venus donated to the National Gallery?
The painting was donated to the National Gallery in 1906 by the National Art Collections Fund (now the Art Fund) following a widely-publicized fundraising campaign.