A spur-of-the-moment decision by tutorial team to consider down a 1970s portray depicting male Leiden College board users smoking cigarettes cigars has sparked a debate in the Netherlands about terminate lifestyle.

The artwork on the wall of a university conference home had been a matter of dialogue for years, with some learners claiming that it equally endorsed patriarchy and the act of cigarette smoking.

In what was described as a “tongue in cheek action”, the painting was taken off the wall and turned round through a assembly past month.

“Done!” tweeted Koen Caminada, a professor of tax and social policy.

Quick motion was taken now @UniLeiden 😀!! pic.twitter.com/vJwfr7FmGm

— Joanne van der Leun (@JoannevdLeun) November 10, 2022

Finished! pic.twitter.com/adPf8hITcn

— Koen Caminada (@koencaminada) November 10, 2022

The transfer, on the other hand, led to a furore, with 1 former governing administration minister and former Leiden College lecturer, Uri Rosenthal describing it as a “shame” and an example of “stupidity” by “so-identified as mental professors”.

Other folks piled in, with Rob de Wijk, a professor of worldwide relations, expressing its removal was an try to “rewrite history”, while the painter himself, Rein Dool, 90, termed the motion “stupid and sad”.

A discussion read the globe in excess of involving all those who want to remove artwork and lifestyle of the previous that could be offensive currently and those people who imagine that this would sum to making an attempt to erase background is powerful in the Netherlands, where the country’s colonial earlier looms large as an issue of division.

In the beginning, a spokeswoman for Leiden University experienced proposed the painting was “no lengthier relevant” and a “source of discomfort for some associates of staff”.

The university’s president, Annetje Ottow, subsequently mentioned that there required to be a discussion and that the function had been put again on the wall. Earlier this thirty day period, a special committee was appointed to look at the case and others.

“We see the action as the start out of a discussion on the subject and our university is of class an excellent place for this,” Ottow mentioned. “After the commotion in November, we required to push pause for a bit, which is why the painting was hung back up on the wall.

“A committee will now contemplate what to do subsequent, also in a broader perception and relating to other artworks and the way they are exhibited at the College. This discussion belongs below and we at Leiden University, bastion of independence, can hold it like no other. A discussion often qualified prospects to new expertise and important insights.”

Dool’s painting, temporarily re-hung in the Academy Building.
Dool’s painting, quickly re-hung in the Academy Creating. Photograph: c/o Leiden College

Ottow has also counseled the art and the six guys portrayed. “They are extremely valued former administrators of our university and the painting offers a special, historical photograph of the time,” she claimed. “It is an spectacular artwork and we are happy of the previous directors who are depicted in the portray. The motion does not transform that.”

Ottow stated that section of the option could be to add context to the picture, an approach made use of to describe the presence of controversial statues somewhere else in the globe as an choice to elimination.

She reported: “Not anyone feels represented by this iconic get the job done. As it hangs now, it also lacks context.

“The spontaneous action helps make us consider. Inclusion is a person of our most significant responsibilities. But in the discussion on which we as the board will base our selection, we will of course incorporate the painting’s historical worth.

“Other things to consider are regard for the former administrators in the painting and for the artist who created the perform. We will hear to all sides.”

When approached, Caminada, who tweeted the authentic image of the painting being taken out, responded: “Too substantially interest for this.”

The university’s spokeswoman included that the portray could be identified right now in the “same position, exact same wall, exact space, identical building”. The committee is expected to return with its first piece of information in the initial quarter of 2023.


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