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This is Why Botticelli’s Portray And Different Artworks in Europe are Being Vandalised

This is Why Botticelli’s Portray And Different Artworks in Europe are Being Vandalised

Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus is the latest artwork in Europe to be vandalised. Within the past month, we also saw similar acts where soup was hurled on Monet’s Springtime (Le Printemps) and da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. So what exactly is pushing people to attack these works of art?

On Tuesday evening, two activists entered the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and targeted Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. They stuck pictures of the deadly floods that hit Tuscany last year on the painting’s protective glass and unfurled a banner that read “Fondo Riparazione” or “Reparation Fund.”

“The government continues to pretend that fields did not burn in January, that water will not be a problem this summer, that houses destroyed by floods are accidental events and not caused by human choices,” one of the protestors stated. “And instead of dealing with these real problems, it makes absurd laws.” The last statement likely refers to Italy’s recent move to impose heavier fines on “eco-vandals” who damage monuments and cultural sites.

This protest was claimed by the climate activist group, Ultima Generazione (“Last Generation”), who are demanding a reparation fund of 20 billion Euros (approximately HK$168 billion) from the government. This fund would go to supporting climate disaster victims, sourced from cutting public subsidies and extra profits from fossil fuel industries, military expenses, and the salaries of managers of state-owned energy-intensive industries and “the political class.” The two activists have been arrested and Uffizi Gallery reported that the Botticelli painting and its protective glass are undamaged by the group’s actions.

Last Generation is part of a network of eco-activist groups across Europe and the UK that carry out actions of nonviolent civil disobedience to raise awareness and protest the government’s lack of action on preventing climate change. Many of these groups have done similar acts of vandalism on artworks across Europe. The recent acts against a Monet painting and the Mona Lisa were done by Riposte Alimentaire (“Food Counterattack”) in France to call for a sustainable supply of healthy food for all and to stand in solidarity with the farmer protests across the continent.

Botticelli vandalised Ultima Generazione

But why target such valuable artworks?

While most don’t find fault in their cause, many have questioned their methods or even condemned these activist groups. Most of the public thinks that there is no need to potentially risk artworks that are so rich in history in their acts. Botticelli, Monet, and van Gogh are all celebrated artists who are highly revered by people. Throwing soup at their works seems almost sacrilegous.

In response, Riposte Alimentaire simply says, “We love art, but future artists will have nothing to paint on a burning planet.”

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These protests are certainly shocking, which is the intention. By targeting certain high-profile or well-known artworks, their protests naturally draw more attention, resulting in more people hearing their cause. The movement has entered the public’s consciousness and is starting conversations about climate change. Amidst all the noise, some have shown their support too.

Furthermore, the damage the eco-activist groups inflict on these priceless artworks has been pretty minor or even negligible. Taking a look at their previous protests, the paintings they “attack” are covered by protective glass. All the soup, images, or glue they throw at the artwork are targeted towards the protective glass or the frame, leaving the actual painting pretty safe. Museums have been able to clean them up pretty fast — Uffizi Gallery cleaned up Botticelli’s painting and re-opened the area within 15 minutes after the activists’ arrest.

Do you agree with their methods? Regardless, we should remember to pay attention to what they are fighting for and reflect on what we can do.

(Images: Laura Lezza via Getty Images)

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong

Source: Prestige Online

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