Dean of the Faculty of Law Joanne van der Leun acknowledged that the painting had generated plenty of debate. She took the view that it could be taken down and tweeted a photo of the removal a couple of days later.

This raised a few eyebrows. For example, Professor of Physics Sense Jan van der Molen asked whether it was right and proper for the painting to be removed at the slightest objection. “I’ve always regarded it as a form of cynicism and a subtle artistic protest against gaggles of cigar-smoking, suited and booted gents.” Apparently, it had been a contentious issue for quite some time.

There soon followed a flood of spiteful messages on ‘wokeness’ and ‘foreigners’, with the occasional comment about having to exercise tremendous caution when it comes to removing art.

Update: The University of Leiden decided to return the painting to its original location. A committee will investigate what the best way to present the painting in the future.

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