Diego Velazquez, The Toilet of Venus (‘The Rokeby Venus’), © The National Gallery, London. Presented by the National Art Collections Fund, 1906

Art under Attack: Suffragette Iconoclasm

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  • Scottish National Gallery
  • Hawthornden Lecture Theatre. Please enter via the back door of the Academy building.
  • Tuesday 6 March, 6.30-8.30pm
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In early 1914 the British female suffrage movement was at its militant height. Denied a democratic vote, suffragettes were engaged in a range of violent activities devised to draw attention to their cause. Window-smashing and arson were common tactics. Then, on 10 March, a new form of militancy emerged: iconoclasm. Mary Richardson slashed Velázquez’s The Rokeby Venus with a hatchet inside the National Gallery. Her act scandalised the nation and stimulated a wave of assaults on paintings that lasted for five months. To mark the centenary this year of the first women in Britain winning the vote, Dr Helen Scott, Curator of Fine Art, City Art Centre, examines the suffragettes’ campaign of iconoclasm, exploring the actions and motives of the women responsible, and investigating contemporary responses to the attacks.