Leiden University removes painting of cigar-smoking men

Leiden University removes painting of cigar-smoking men



A painting showing cigar-smoking men has been removed from a room at Leiden University following complaints. The woman who took offence at it is receiving a flood of hateful messages.


The painting by artist Rein Dool, made in the 1970s, shows the then Leiden University Board of Governors. PhD student Elina Zorina asked on Twitter what to make of it. She did not think the signal was clear. Shouldn’t there be an ironic or self-critical note next to it, she wondered.


The dean of the Faculty of Law, Joanne van der Leun, replied that there was a lot of discussion about the painting. As far as she was concerned, it could come off the wall. Two days later, she tweeted a picture of its removal.




That raised some eyebrows. For instance, physics professor Sense Jan van der Molen asked if the painting really had to go ‘at the first complaint’. “I myself have always seen it as a form of cynicism and subtle artistic protest against meeting cigar-smoking gentlemen in suits”, he said. But so there would have been discussion about it for some time.


Soon, a stream of hateful posts about ‘woke’ and ‘foreigners’ started up, with comments here and there that you have to be very careful when removing art. (HOP, BB)


Editor in chief Saskia Bonger

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