Climate activists have attacked a famous painting by artist Gustav Klimt with a black, oily liquid at Vienna’s Leopold Museum.
Letzte Generation Österreich (Last Generation Austria) said they targeted the 1915 artwork to protest their government’s use of fossil energy.
A video of the incident, which the group posted online, shows an activist pouring the liquid onto the 1915 painting, called “Death and Life.”
An activist was pushed away by a guard at the Leopold Museum, while another stuck his hand to the glass protecting the artwork.
One of the activists is heard shouting: “We have known about the problem for 50 years – we must finally act or the planet will be destroyed. Stop the destruction of fossil fuels. We are racing to climate hell.”
On Twitter, the group defended the move, saying they were protesting “oil and gas drilling,” which they called “a death sentence for society.”
They continued: “Reducing the speed limit to 100 km/h on motorways costs nothing to implement, saves 460 million tons of CO2 per year in #Austria alone and leads to less noise, better air quality and safer roads. ? waiting for?”
The artwork itself was not damaged, but the museum’s restoration team said damage to the glass and safety frame, as well as the wall and floor, was “significant”.
The activists managed to get the liquid inside by hiding it in a hot water bottle under their clothing, local media reported.
Hans-Peter Wipplinger, the museum’s director, told the Austrian news agency that the climate activists’ concerns were justified, “but attacking works of art is definitely the wrong way to achieve the intended goal of preventing the predicted climate collapse “.
The Klimt painting was one of the latest works of art targeted by climate activists in Europe to draw attention to global warming. In the past months, mashed potatoes were thrown at a Claude Monet painting in Germany and the British group Just stop using oil – whose Euronews Culture spoke until last month – thrown Tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ at London’s National Gallery, glued to the frame of an early copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, and at ‘The Hay Wain’ by John Constable at the National Gallery.
Read our interview with Just Stop Oil, who defended their actions and the right to attack art.