Attack(s) of the suffragettes

Diego Velasquez’s Rokeby Venus, after being slashed by suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914

In my earlier long post, Slashers in the Louvre, and the Beautiful Ideas That Kill, I wrote about a disturbing series of attacks on paintings in the Louvre in 1907. Readers may be interested to know (as I was) that leading British galleries suffered their own series of attacks in 1913-14, by suffragettes. Among the victims was Diego Velasquez’s so-called Rokeby Venus, which had only been acquired by the National Gallery in 1906 and was slashed by Mary Richardson. You can read more about these attacks in Suffragette Action, an article at the National Portrait Gallery website. There’s a short overview of the Rokeby Venus attack on YouTube from Michaela Jones and the National Gallery, as well as a fine discussion of the painting, with a mention of the attack, by Francesca Whitlum-Cooper as part of the National Gallery’s always-watchable YouTube clips of its lunchtime lectures on individual paintings. You can also read a short account of the restoration of the painting here.

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