Environmental activists stick their hands to Botticelli's Primavera in Florence

Environmental activists stick their hands to Botticelli’s Primavera in Florence

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The two activists from Ultima Generazione stuck to the glass that protects Spring by Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), at the Uffizi Museum, in Florence (Italy), on Friday, July 22. Laura Lezza/Last Generation

If the climate collapses, there will be no more museums, no more art“, they warned before being arrested. Protected by glass, the work has not been damaged.

After the United Kingdom, in Italy the irruption of environmental activists continues within museums and closer to works of art. Two activists caught security guards at the Uffizi museum in Florence by surprise by unfurling a banner at the foot of the building on Friday. Spring by Botticelli and pressing his hand to the glass that protects the masterpiece of the Florentine Renaissance.

“The only thing we can do to save our society, to save the future of all humanity, is to stop investing in fossil fuels”, proclaimed the activists of the Italian movement Ultima Generazione (Last Generation), before being arrested by the museum’s security forces and taken into Carabinieri custody, with a third activist intervened in addition to her companions. The management of the Offices specified that the temper in the Botticelli panel was not damaged by this action.

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The environmental and non-violent movement promised that this first irruption in the Offices inaugurated “a new season of action” in italian museums “from Florence, Venice, Milan and Rome”. According to press releases from the activists published on Friday, preserving the beauty immortalized by the Florentine painter makes it precisely necessary to act as quickly as possible for the climate.

Warns against the end of civilization.

“Is it possible to see a spring as beautiful as this today?He questioned the movement that demands the end of the exploitation of gas and coal. “If the climate collapses, the entire civilization as we know it collapses. There will be no more tourism, no more museums, no more artthe group added, specifying that they had consulted art restoration experts before their action at the Uffizi, to ensure that their activists did not cause any damage to Botticelli’s work.

In reaction to the criticism that arose after its action in Florence, the movement also clarified on Friday night that “The inconvenience we have created is nothing compared to the billion climate migrants and the many deaths that the climate crisis is already causing”. In activity since December, the Italian collective interrupted a performance of the opera on July 15 madam butterfly during the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, Tuscany.

Close to other environmental groups such as the British group Just Stop Oil, the French group Last Renovation or the German group Der Letzer Generation, Ultima Generazione belongs to the “international civil resistance movement” A22, funded by the Climate Emergency Fund, an American philanthropic foundation.

stick to the cause

The new militant mode of action of investing in museums and putting your hand on a work of art appeared across the English Channel at the end of June. Just Stop Oil activists intervened in quick succession in five British museums, including the National Gallery, adhering to the frame of several paintings, including landscapes by Van Gogh and William Turner.

In France, several museums have confirmed that they closely follow the development of these new forms of militant outbursts that raise the question of the safety of the works on display. According to several videos posted online, at least two and a half minutes passed on Friday before an Uffizi security guard intervened to push back the two activists glued to the frame of the Spring by Botticelli.

“Museums are not prepared”entrusted at the beginning of July to Figaro an activist for Extinction Rebellion. “What image should we stick to in France to live up to the coming climatic chaos?”He also questioned, on July 8, the Last Renovation movement that intervened both at Roland-Garros and during the Tour de France.

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