Climate activists throw black dye over Gustav Klimt painting in Vienna OLD
Climate activists smeared black dye on Gustav Klimt’s famous painting “Death and Life” while another glued his hand to the frame in protest against oil drilling in Vienna today.
After throwing the liquid on the screen protecting the masterpiece, one of the activists was pushed away by a museum guard.
Members of the group Last Generation Austria said they had targeted the 1915 painting at the Leopold Museum in Vienna due to the government’s use of fossil energies, tweeting: “New drilling for oil and gas is a death sentence for humanity.”
In a video of the incident, one activist can be heard shouting: “We have known about the problem for 50 years — we must finally act, otherwise the planet will be broken. Stop the fossil fuel destruction. We are racing into a climate hell.”
Police arrived at the museum and the black liquid was quickly cleaned off the glass protecting the painting, Austria Press Agency reported.
🛢️EILT: Klimt's "Tod und Leben" im Leopold Museum mit Öl überschüttet🛢️
Menschen der Letzten Generation haben heute im Leopold Museum das Klimt-Gemälde "Tod und Leben" mit Öl überschüttet. Neue Öl- und Gasbohrungen sind ein Todesurteil für die Menschheit. pic.twitter.com/4QKAklB9Af
— Letzte Generation Österreich (@letztegenAT) November 15, 2022
Despite controls at the museum’s entrance, the activists succeeded in bringing the liquid inside by hiding it in a hot water bottle under their clothes, the agency reported.
The group picked a day on which they will likely have saved themselves the cost of tickets because entry to the museum was free on Tuesday, St Leopold’s Day, thanks to sponsorship by Austrian oil and gas company OMV.
“Fortunately the (1915) work of art was not damaged. Nonetheless, we are shocked that the Leopold Museum was in focus here,” the museum’s museological director, Hans-Peter Wipplinger, told a news conference.
He added that the museum had recently stepped up security in light of similar attacks elsewhere.
While the museum sympathised with the activists’ cause, it disagreed with the means employed, Mr Wipplinger said.
He said he expected Last Generation to foot the bill for the police deployment and clean-up, which he estimated at five figures in euros (dollars).
A museum spokesman said he did not know whether the activists had been arrested. Vienna police were not immediately available for comment.
The Klimt work is an oil on canvas painting in the Art Nouveau style depicting death on the left side and a group of partially naked, hugging people on the right side. It’s one of the latest pieces of art to be targeted by climate activists to draw attention to global heating.
The episode is the latest in a series of climate change activists throwing liquid at or gluing themselves to famous works of art in museums or the equipment protecting those works in order to raise awareness about the environment.
Recently, an activist threw mashed potatoes at a Claude Monet painting in Germany while in the UK, Just Stop Oil threw tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in London’s National Gallery last month.
Just Stop Oil activists also glued themselves to the frame of an early copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, and to John Constable’s “The Hay Wain” in the National Gallery.