0455 GMT August 10, 2022
The stunt, the latest direct action demonstration by climate change activists, saw the duo from the "Just Stop Oil" group glue their fingers to the Dutch master's ‘Peach Trees in Blossom’.
The oil on canvas work painted in 1889 is part of a Van Gogh collection hanging at the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House in the British capital, AFP wrote.
It comes the day after five members of the group, which wants a halt to all new UK fossil fuel projects, were arrested over a similarly disruptive protest at an art museum in Glasgow.
"We don't want to be doing this," Louis McKechnie, one of the pair claiming to have attached himself to the Van Gogh work, told onlookers at the London gallery, according to footage shared by "Just Stop Oil".
"We're here glued to this painting – this beautiful painting – because we're terrified for our future," the 21-year-old added, noting he and his fellow activist expected to be arrested.
The Courtauld confirmed the incident took place mid-afternoon and prompted the closure of the gallery in which the painting hangs for the rest of Thursday.
"We expect The Courtauld Gallery to reopen to the public as normal tomorrow," it added in a statement.
McKechnie, a former engineering student who has already been arrested 20 times and spent six weeks in prison, is fast becoming one of the most recognisable faces among Britain's climate change activists.
In March, he risked the wrath of football fans when he tied himself to a goalpost in the middle of a match between Newcastle and Everton.
In the video from the gallery Thursday, McKechnie accused the UK government of "pushing through over 40 new fossil fuel projects" which were "like signing our death warrants".