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22 Jul, 2022 18:23

Climate activists target Botticelli painting

The Italian activists attempted to glue themselves to ‘Primavera’ in Florence to protest fossil fuels
Climate activists target Botticelli painting

Italian eco-activists glued themselves to Sandro Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’ in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence on Friday. The protesters want the Italian government to abandon fossil fuels, even amid soaring prices.

Two protesters attached their hands to a sheet of glass protecting Botticelli’s 15th-century masterpiece, while others took photos and held a banner reading “no gas, no coal.” The group, calling itself the ‘Last Generation’, claimed that it took care to use a type of glue that would not damage the glass.

Museum staff swiftly detached the two eco-warriors from the three-meter painting, after which the protesters threw themselves to the floor of the gallery and refused to be dragged away.

In a statement on its website, the group set out its demands: That Italy immediately reverse plans to reopen disused coal power plants and cancel gas drilling projects, and that the country increase solar and wind energy by at least 20 gigawatts this year – a tall order given Italy currently plans to add a total of 8GW to its renewable energy capacity by 2024. 

Italians are meanwhile struggling with soaring energy bills, with outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s perceived failure to tackle this problem leading to the collapse of his government last week, and his resignation on Thursday.

The activist group said it targeted a museum as “Italy is internationally recognized as the cradle of artistic and museum heritage,” which they claim will be affected by “the ongoing eco-climactic and social collapse.” Last week, the group interrupted a performance of Puccini’s ‘Madame Butterfly’ in the Tuscan town of Lucca, while its members have previously sat on motorways to disrupt traffic.

In a statement on a recent blockage of a ring road in Rome, Last Generation acknowledged that it was deliberately preventing Romans from relaxing by the seaside or going to work. 

Last Generation is not the only group of climate activists whose members have glued themselves to famous paintings. In the UK, a group called ‘Just Stop Oil’ has targeted works by GiampietrinoVincent Van Gogh, and John Constable this summer in a bid to draw attention to their cause.