Protest in the picture gallery: two activists and a Cranach painting
Photo: Last Generation / Instagram
Berlin, Thursday afternoon, picture gallery on the Kulturforum, not far from Potsdamer Platz.
Two women each have a hand on the frame of the picture »Rest on the Flight into Egypt« by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553).
A museum supervisor rushes over, video shows, while the two women unfurl a poster that reads "Last Generation."
On their T-shirts is written: »Stop the fossil madness«.
They are climate activists following a new trend.
So far, supporters of the organization »Last Generation« taped themselves to streets to block traffic and thus draw attention to their cause.
The echo was sometimes devastating, also in SPIEGEL: "It's a kind of activism that prefers to create enemies than seek allies," said Jochen-Martin Gutsch in his column.
He has “zero understanding” of having to be stuck in a traffic jam.
Whether the Kunstklebeaktionen better arrive?
In any case, the action in the Berlin Picture Gallery was soon over: the area was cordoned off, the police came and arrested the two activists, a 19-year-old and a 24-year-old, after they were detached from the frame with a solvent by museum employees , according to the police.
A 24-year-old and a 58-year-old suspected of having participated in the action by filming the crime were also arrested.
While the suspected filmmakers and the 19-year-old were released after the police measures, the first-mentioned 24-year-old was handed over to the police state security at the Berlin State Criminal Police Office, where the further, ongoing investigations are being conducted.
Take care of the artworks
Above all, museum people are concerned about their works of art, which are endangered by such actions.
"There is never one hundred percent certainty," said Hermann Parzinger, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, to which the picture gallery belongs, in an initial reaction to the dpa news agency.
"The risk of damage to the works of art is very great," said the managing director of the German Cultural Council, Olaf Zimmermann, according to a statement.
"As much as I can understand the desperation of the climate activists, I say clearly that sticking the actions to the frames of famous works of art is clearly the wrong way." There was no information about possible damage.
Berlin's Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) wrote on Twitter: "I strongly condemn today's action by activists of the 'last generation' in the Berlin Picture Gallery.
Significant damage can be assumed by sticking it to the frame of one of the most important paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder.« A follow-up tweet states: »Drawing attention to the climate crisis by intentionally damaging works of art is clearly the wrong approach.«
The action is not unique
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In a video that appeared on the Last Generation Twitter page, the two activists defend their action.
"The painting shows Maria and Joseph looking for a safe place for their child," says Lina Eichler, who was also recently portrayed in SPIEGEL.
"Don't we long for a world where our children have a secure future?" asks her colleague Maja Winkelmann.
"In a world two or four degrees hotter, there will be no safe haven," says a statement from "Last Generation."
The action is not an isolated case: there have already been similar adhesive protests in the past few weeks and months:
On June 30, two climate protection activists from the group Just Stop Oil taped themselves to Vincent Van Gogh's oil painting Peach Trees in Blossom at London's Courtauld Gallery.
In a statement, they referred to the severe drought in Provence, the French region painted by Van Gogh in Peach Trees in Blossom.
On July 24, two climate activists taped themselves to the armored glass in front of Sandro Botticelli's painting Primavera (Spring) in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Together with a third activist, they then unfurled a banner that read “Ultima Generazione No Gas No Carbone” (“Last Generation, No Gas, No Carbon”).
The painting was not damaged.
Laocoön group in Rome
Photo: Uncredited / picture alliance/dpa/Ultima Generazione/AP
On August 18, two environmental activists taped themselves to the pedestal of the world-famous Laocoon group in the Vatican Museums in Rome.
As a video on Twitter shows, they held a placard that read: "Last generation, no gas, no coal".
According to Homer's ancient epic »Iliad«, the priest Laocoon once warned the inhabitants of Troy of danger - but they did not listen to him, and Troy perished.
»Sistine Madonna« in Dresden
Photo: Sebastian Kahnert / picture alliance / dpa
On August 23, two environmental activists from Last Generation taped themselves to the frame of Raphael's Sistine Madonna in the Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden.
During the protest, one of the activists referred to the forest fires in Saxon Switzerland and other consequences of climate change.
On August 24, climate activists glued themselves to Nicolas Poussin's painting "Thunderstormed Landscape with Pyramus and Thisbe" in the Städel in Frankfurt.
The picture is symbolic of the destructive course of current politics, they later explained via Twitter: "It shows Pyramus lying on the ground, next to him a sword with which he fell to his death based on erroneous assumptions."
On August 26, climate activists taped themselves to the painting »Bethlehemite Infanticide«, a late work by Rubens (1577-1640), in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
As reported by Bayerischer Rundfunk, they compare the motif of the picture with the climate catastrophe, which could also lead to war.
This year, climate activists of the "last generation" have already blocked hundreds of streets nationwide.
The activists are demanding that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) do more to expand renewable energies.