On Sunday, fake blood was hurled at a painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in a Berlin museum, in an incident reminiscent of recent climate protests, though officials have yet to release a motivation for the attack. The individual, who was taken into police custody, also glued themselves to the wall beside the work.
The work, titled Clown, is being examined in the Alte Nationalgalerie’s restoration workshop. The head of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Hermann Parzinger, said in a statement that the painting was not significantly damaged.
“I am shocked by this further senseless attack on art, which in this case obviously cannot be assigned to any climate-politically active group,” he told the news agency dpa. He added that the museum staff will “continue to do everything we can to protect the art in our collections while keeping them accessible with as few barriers as possible.”
The incident seemed to share similarities with climate actions by the group Letzte Generation, which earlier this month splashed mashed potatoes across a Claude Monet painting in Postdam. Their tactics draw on protests led by the U.K.-based group Just Stop Oil, which has garnered attention because its activists have glued themselves to paintings.
Just Stop Oil protesters threw tomato soup on Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at London’s National Gallery. Last week, an activist wearing a Just Stop Oil shirt attempted to glue his head to Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring as another protestor attempted to pour red liquid over him.
The Alte Nationalgalerie incident happened on the same day that members of Letzte Generation pasted themselves to the handrails beside a dinosaur skeleton at Berlin’s Natural History Museum. The group said in a statement that, “just like the dinosaurs back then, we are threatened with climate changes that we cannot withstand. If we don’t want to see ourselves threatened with extinction, we must act now.”
The Alte Nationalgalerie is closed today for cleaning and will reopen on Tuesday. Charges for trespassing and property damage have been filed in both cases in Berlin.