Has the London National Gallery stated that it wants to remove Belgian painter Jan van Eyck's masterpiece The Arnolfini Marriage from the collection due to mass complaints about the resemblance of its character to Russia's President Vladimir Putin? No, that's not true: Lead Stories found no such information on the National Gallery's official pages. National Gallery's officials told Lead Stories that no such a plan exists.
This false claim has been published by different TikTok accounts and Russian online media. On March 30, 2023, this claim appeared in the video posted on the TikTok account elenkalenka_1 (archived here) and was shared on these TikTok accounts (here and here). The claim in Russian opened:
London Gallery wants to remove Van Eyck's painting from the exibition due to mass complaints about the resemblance of its character to PUTIN.
Everything is stable in a madhouse.
Below is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of this writing:
(Source: TikTok.com screengrab taken Thu Apr 17 10:20:23 2023 UTC)
In correspondence with Lead Stories, the PR Officer at the National Gallery, Esmee Wright, denied that the museum ever issued such a statement. She said that the painting is in place, and there is no intention to remove it from the collection:
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. There have been no complaints that we are aware of.