Around two o’clock yesterday afternoon, 27th October 2022, two people glued themselves to Johannes Vermeer’s 1665 masterpiece Girl with a Pearl Earring, the jewel in the crown of the Mauritshuis collection in The Hague. One person glued his head to glazing which protects the painting, and the other glued his hand to the green wall next to the painting. A liquid was thrown.
The police were called in and three Belgian men were arrested. Among the detainees is Wouter M., who has conducted several climate campaigns in Belgium recently. He previously disrupted the Tour of Flanders by running up the course during the final sprint. He also tied himself to a goalpost during a cup match between RSC Anderlecht and AA Ghent.
On Dutch TV’s Nieuwsuur last night Mauritshuis Museum director Martine Gosselink told protesters to, “Keep your hands off our stuff. You have so many ways to demonstrate and make your point. Do it in a different way.”
The condition of the painting has been investigated by conservators. Fortunately, being under glass, the masterpiece was not damaged but the frame and the back plate sustained some damage but these can easily be repaired or replaced. The Girl with a Pearl Earring will be back on view as soon possible. Until then, the room the painting is housed in will remain closed to the public.
STOP PRESS Friday, 28th October at 15.30
We are glad to say that the Girl with a Pearl Earring was put back in her rightful spot in the Mauritshuis by members of our staff. Everyone can come and admire her again!
Martine Gosselink said, “We are incredibly grateful that The Girl remained undamaged and is back in her familiar place so quickly. So that our visitors from all over the world can admire her again, which is what art is for.”
Vermeer’s work was examined in the museum’s conservation studio where no damage was discovered.