These steps, whose implementers say that they seek to raise awareness of the climate crisis, provoke criticism from many quarters from the art world around the world, who see them as “subversive” acts that are “counter-productive”.
The most recent attack occurred on Saturday, just before the start of the climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, when women activists in Rome threw soup at Vincent van Gogh’s “The Sower”, which he painted in 1888, showing a farmer scattering seeds in his field with a huge sun in the background. Protected by glass and located in an exhibition dedicated to the Dutch painter in “Palazzo Bonaparte” in Piazza Venezia in central Rome, it was not damaged..
A video clip of pictures inside the gallery showed two young women throwing a liquid substance in the direction of the painting. Then another woman joined them and stuck their hands on the wall of the room amid the exasperated cries of visitors.
A day earlier, two climate activists stuck their hands on the frames of two paintings by Spanish painter Goya at the Prado Museum in Madrid to protest the authorities’ lack of action to curb climate warming..
In a video clip published by the environmental movement “Extension Rebellion”, which follows the method of civil disobedience, one of the activists appeared in a hall of the museum pasting her hand on the frame of one of the paintings, while the second wrote “+ 1.5 degrees Celsius” on the wall before sticking her hand on the painting. the second.
The former Egyptian Minister of Culture, Dr. Helmy Al-Namnam, called for increasing security measures in major museums around the world, in order to address the phenomenon of attacks on famous paintings by climate activists, claiming to raise awareness of the issue of climate change and its impact on humanity..
Al-Namnam told Sky News Arabia, “Some of those who adopt a particular cause imagine that defending their cause is by causing some kind of destruction or sabotage in other aspects, not only in the climate issue but in many issues, which is something that needs in-depth study by analysts. Psychologists and experts.“
The former minister warned against vandals, counterfeiters and thieves joining these groups in order to steal these priceless works of art..
He called for imposing the protection of paintings and not to leave these museums and paintings to be vulnerable to attack, and the security authorities must play a greater role than what is currently happening, because climate activists cannot be allowed to attack a central bank or a military base, so great protection should be imposed on the available.
He pointed out that raising awareness about climate issues is an important and legitimate matter, but it cannot be done by attacking and destroying artistic heritage..
And last week, the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, where Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” was attacked by activists from the “Stop the Oil” group, said that “art cannot defend itself.”“.
Activists stuck their hands on the painting’s protective wall before pouring what looked like tomato sauce on it, causing minor damage to the painting’s frame, according to the museum..
“All museum officials have long been taking measures against vandalism,” said Bernard Plestan, Honorary President of the Center Pompidou in Paris. “Should they be strengthened? Certainly.“.
“Before we get there, there has to be a level of awareness that this is frustrating and doesn’t lead anywhere“.
In statements to the French newspaper “Le Parisien”, the French Minister of Culture, Rima Abdel-Malik, said, “This is terrible! How can the logic of defending the climate lead to the destruction of a work of art? This is completely absurd.”“.
She pointed out that France “is not immune from an activist attacking a lack of logic of the painting” unprotected, calling on “all national museums to increase caution.“.
At the end of May, the famous Mona Lisa, placed since 2005 behind laminated glass, was attacked, during which a person who claimed to be a seat threw a cake at the insulating glass of the painting, attributing his step to his desire to defend the “planet”, before placing him in a psychiatric clinic..
- Claude Monet’s “The Millstone” in the Barberini Museum in Potsdam, Germany
- Van Gogh’s “Sunflower” at the National Gallery in London
- “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci at the Royal Academy of Art, London
- Peach Trees in Blossom by Vincent van Gogh at the Museum in London.
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