Top museums issue statement against attacks on paintings

Top museums issue statement against attacks on paintings

Top museums issue statement against attacks on paintings

Dozens of the world’s top museums issued a joint declaration on Nov. 10 saying environmental activists who attack paintings “severely underestimate” the damage that could be caused.

Protesters have attacked numerous masterpieces across Europe in recent weeks to protest the lack of action against climate change.

They have glued themselves to a Francisco Goya in Madrid, thrown soup at Vincent van Goghs in London and Rome, and mashed potatoes on a Claude Monet.

“The activists responsible for [these attacks] severely underestimate the fragility of these irreplaceable objects, which must be preserved as part of our world cultural heritage,” said the statement.

It was spearheaded by the Prado in Madrid, and signed by the directors of more than 90 world-renowned museums including the Guggenheim in New York, Louvre in Paris and Uffizi in Florence.

“As museum directors entrusted with the care of these works, we have been deeply shaken by their risky endangerment,” the statement said.

“We will continue to advocate for direct access to our cultural heritage. And we will maintain the museum as a free space for social communication.”

Two climate activists on Nov. 5 each glued a hand to the frame of paintings by Spanish master Francisco Goya in Madrid.
The protest at the famed Prado museum damaged neither painting.

It was the latest in series of protests by climate activists targeting famous artworks in European cities.
On Nov. 3, a group splashed pea soup onto a van Gogh masterpiece in Rome.

“The Sower,” an 1888 painting by the Dutch artist depicting a farmer sowing his land under a dominating sun, was exhibited behind glass and undamaged.

Other actions have seen cake or mashed potatoes used in recent weeks.

They have targeted masterpieces such as the “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci in the Louvre in Paris or “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer at The Hague’s Mauritshuis museum.

In October, the group Just Stop Oil threw tomato soup over van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” at London’s National Gallery.
All those paintings were covered by glass and were undamaged.