FACT CHECK: Is The National Gallery In London Removing A Famous Painting Because It Resembles Vladimir Putin?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Twitter purports the National Gallery in London is removing Jan van Eyck’s “The Arnolfini Portrait” because one of the figures in the painting resembles Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Verdict: False

The claim is false. A spokesperson for the National Gallery in London denied the gallery was removing the painting.

Fact Check:

Putin recently claimed U.S. Support for a revolution in Ukraine in 2014 led to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, according to Reuters. The Russian president has also threatened Russian action since Finland joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Business Insider Africa reported.

The post alleges the London gallery is planning to remove the painting due to the depiction of a person too closely resembling Putin. “BELIEVE IT OR NOT A London gallery wants to remove the Jan van Eyck painting after frequent complaints from visitors about the likeness of the figure in the painting to Putin. By the way, the painting was created in 1434,” the Twitter post, viewed over one million times, purports.

The claim is false. There are no credible news reports suggesting the gallery is removing the painting. Likewise, the claim neither appears on the National Gallery in London’s website nor its verified social media accounts. In addition, the Kremlin has not publicly addressed the purported claim.

“The painting you refer to is the Portrait of Giovanni(?) Arnolfini and his Wife (The Arnolfini Marriage) by Jan van Eyck (1434) and is currently on display in Room 28. There are no plans to remove this painting from display,” Tracy Jones, a spokesperson for the National Gallery in London, denied the claim in an email to Check Your Fact.

The claim that the painting was being removed from the gallery originally stemmed from a Russian media website and was picked up by other Russian outlets, according to the AP. (RELATED: Video Falsely Claims To Show Vladimir Putin Being Arrested)

An iteration of the claim regarding Jan van Eyck’s painting also circulated on Facebook, Reuters reported. The outlet quoted a spokesperson for the National Gallery in London as saying, “there have been no complaints [about the painting] that we are aware of.”

The painting was first displayed at the National Gallery in London in 1843, according to the gallery’s website.

This is not the first time false information regarding Putin has circulated online. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim suggesting Putin had been arrested.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter


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