Environmental activists have tossed pea soup on a Vincent van Gogh painting in Rome, in a stunt protesting carbon use and natural gas extraction.
The protest, which was carried out by the climate group Ultima Generazione (Last Generation), caused no damage to the glass-covered painting.
Security intervened immediately and removed the protesters, who were kneeling in front of “The Sower” at the Palazzo Bonaparte building.
Protesters from the same group had earlier blocked a highway near Rome.
In a post on Twitter the group said: "Today, vegetable soup on Van Gogh's 'Sower'.
"We act for the love of life, therefore for the love of art! In a future where we will struggle to find food for everyone, how can we think that art will still be protected?"
The 1888 painting belongs to the Kroller-Muller Museum in the Netherlands and was on loan for a show in Italy's capital, featuring works by Van Gogh.
Italy’s new culture minister, Gennaro Sangiuliano, poured scorn on the protest.
“Attacking art is an ignoble act that must be firmly condemned,’’ he said.
“Culture, which is the basis of our identity, must be defended and protected, and certainly not used as a megaphone for other forms of protest.”
One onlooker told the Associated Press that the stunt "totally defeats the purpose" of what message the group is trying to spread.
Hans Bergetoft, a tourist from Stockholm, said. "I am really for the cause in itself, but not the action. Not the action that they took. Not at all.”
In recent months climate activists - notably Just Stop Oil - in Britain have staged similar protests.
Two people were arrested in October for throwing a can of tomato soup over Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" painting at the National Gallery.
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