Artist’s rendering of a 1914 attack on Velazquez’s “Rokeby Venus” by suffragette Mary Richardson. On March 10, Richardson entered the National Gallery in London with a meat cleaver hidden under her coat and attacked the painting, leaving several large tears in the canvas. She surrendered when apprehended by the guard on duty.
Richardson claimed that her actions had been taken on behalf of fellow suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who had previously been arrested and was on hunger strike. “Yes, I am a suffragette. You can get another picture, but you cannot get a life, as they are killing Mrs Pankhurst. I have tried to destroy the picture of the most beautiful woman in mythological history as a protest against the Government for destroying Mrs. Pankhurst, who is the most beautiful character in modern history.”