The two climate change activists who targeted the iconic “Girl With A Pearl Earring” painting by Johannes Vermeer have been sentenced to two months in prison by a Dutch court. Image courtesy of Mauritshuis Museum/Wikimedia
Nov. 3 (UPI) -- The two climate change activists who targeted the iconic Girl With A Pearl Earring painting by Johannes Vermeer have been sentenced to two months in prison by a Dutch court.
A viral video shared online showed two activists with the group Just Stop Oil Belgium gluing themselves to the artwork as one poured a can of tomato soup on the other's head. A third activist filmed the stunt.
The oil painting, among the most recognizable in the world, was made by Vermeer in 1665 amid the Dutch Golden Age in the broader Baroque era and features a girl looking over her left shoulder with a large pearl earring in yellow and blue hues. It is protected by glass at the Hague's Mauritshuis Museum.
The Netherlands Prosecution Service said in a statement that two of the activists were sentenced by the court to two months in prison, one of which was suspended.
The third activist will appear in court on Friday after he did not agree to expedited court proceedings.
"How do you feel when you see something beautiful and priceless being apparently destroyed before your eyes?" one of the men asked onlookers in the video.
"Do you feel outraged? Good. Where is that feeling when you see the planet being destroyed before our very eyes?"
Prosecutors had requested four months in prison, two of which were conditional, to send a message that "paintings hang in museums to enjoy, not to abuse them for activist purposes."
"The right to demonstrate is a fundamental right, but not unlimited. The hard limit is when it comes to committing criminal offenses," prosecutors said.
The painting was undamaged by the stunt and put back on display the next day, according to a statement from the Mauritshuis Museum.
However, the 19th-century frame that the painting was displayed in was damaged.
"We are incredibly grateful that the Girl remained undamaged and is back in her familiar spot so quickly. So that our visitors from all over the world can admire her again, which is what art is for," Martine Gosselink, general director of the Mauritshuis Museum, said.
"Vermeer's work was examined in the museum's conservation studio where no damage was discovered."