SPAIN: In the most recent wave of protests against artwork across Europe, climate activists in Spain glued their hands to well-known paintings by Francisco de Goya on Saturday at Madrid’s Prado Museum.
The museum added that activists glued their hands to the frames, which did not damage painting but caused slight blemishes on their frames.
Protest or Vandalism?
Even though their methods have drawn criticism from the art world, activists’ current vandalism targets include a number of famous works of art that they hope will draw attention to climate change.
In a video posted online by the environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion, two protesters can be seen holding onto the artworks as security agents enter the museum.
The artists “La Maja Vestida” and “La Maja Desnuda,” or “The Clothed Maja” and “The Naked Maja,” are among those whose works from the 18th and 19th centuries have been impacted.
Between the two pieces of art, they had scrawled “+1,5°C” on the wall in reference to the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.
Futuro Vegetal, a campaign group, claimed responsibility for the protest’s execution. “Last week, the UN recognised the impossibility of keeping us below the limit of 1.5 Celsius (set in the 2016 Paris climate agreement). We need change now,” it said on Twitter.
The Prado tweeted, “We condemn the protest that took place in the museum.”
“The works have not been damaged, but the frames have suffered slight blemishes. We are working to get back to normal as quickly as possible. We reject endangering cultural heritage as a means of protest,” the gallery further added.
Authorities reported that both activists were taken into custody
After the incident on Saturday, authorities stated both activists were taken into custody. In the weeks leading up to the COP27 climate change summit in Egypt, groups of environmental activists have staged a number of similar protests.
In The Hague, protesters attempted to stick themselves to the glass covering Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. In Rome, protesters spilt soup over Van Gogh’s “The Sower” and one of his sunflowers paintings. Additionally, those two pieces were covered.
Last Generation’s climate activists described their demonstration as “a desperate and scientifically grounded cry that cannot be understood as mere vandalism.”
Earlier this week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz publicly expressed his displeasure and urged demonstrators to use “creativity” in their protests.