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Nearly 100 of the world’s most famous museums issued a joint declaration on Thursday saying environmental activists who attack paintings to draw attention to climate change “severely underestimate” the damage that could be caused.
“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 signed by the directors of 92 world-renowned museums including the Louvre in Paris, the Guggenheim in New York and the Prado in Madrid.
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 tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in London, and slung mashed potatoes on a Claude Monet in Potsdam near Berlin.
While the paintings remained undamaged, the “Sunflowers” incident resulted in minor damage to the frame of the canvas, which is protected by glass.
“As museum directors entrusted with the care of these works, we have been deeply shaken by their risky endangerment,” the statement added.
“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.”
Several European museums are now considering increasing their security measures in response to the growing number of actions by eco-activists. Such measures could include a ban on bags and jackets as well as security searches.
France’s Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak has called on “all national museums to redouble their vigilance”.
In May, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” had a custard pie thrown at her face at the Louvre in Paris, but a bulletproof case ensured she came to no harm.
Her attacker said he was taking aim at artists who don’t focus enough on climate issues.
(with AFP)
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