Two Climate Activists Who Glued Themselves to a Raphael Painting in Germany Have Been Hit With Fines

The artwork went unharmed, but the museum that owns it reported about $2,560 in property damage.

Letzte Generation activists Jakob Beyer and Maike Grunst glued to the frame of Raphael’s Sistine Madonna in August of 2023. Courtesy of Letzte Generation.

In August of last year, two members of the German environmental activist group Letzte Generation (Last Generation) entered the Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden and glued their hands to the frame of Raphael’s 16th-century masterpiece, Sistine Madonna. Now, officials in the city are calling for the protestors to be punished.  

The Dresden prosecutor’s office announced on July 21 that the two activists, Jakob Beyer and Maike Grunst, would be fined €1,500 ($1,600) each for the act, according to a report from the dpa German Press Agency. 

While the Raphael painting went unharmed, Beyer and Grunst’s demonstration left behind traces of glue on its frame. The gallery estimated the property damage to be around €2,300 ($2,560), and reported an additional €7,000 ($7,793) in income loss for closing the facility after the incident. 

Citing “damage to property that is harmful to the community,” the Dresden State Art Collections (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, or SKD) filed a complaint with the public prosecutor’s office and initiated civil proceedings for damages. Beyer and Grunst were banned from all SKD locations. 

In a statement released after the demonstration, the two activists drew a connection between the climate crisis and Raphael’s painting.  

“The internationally known Sistine Madonna is a powerful symbol: Mary and Jesus look to the future with fear. They look forward to Christ’s death on the cross,” Grunst said. “An equally predictable death will also be the result of climate collapse. And all over the world!” 

The pair said their act was done in solidarity with fellow Letzte Generation member Christian Bläul, who had been arrested after gluing his hands to a motorway in Stockholm, Sweden a week prior. Bläul was sentenced to nine days in prison for the act. 

“The climate catastrophe is an unprecedented threat of incredible proportions,” said Beyer after the Old Masters Picture Gallery demonstration. “Killer droughts, crushing heat, all-consuming forest fires: this will increase dramatically in the coming years. Not only here in Germany… But worldwide!” 

 

More Trending Stories:  

Artist Stuart Semple Is Releasing a ‘Barbie-Ish,’ Ultra-Fluorescent Pink Paint to Protest Mattel’s Trademark on the Color 

An Australian Photographer Was Disqualified From a Photo Contest After Her Submission Was Mistakenly Deemed A.I.-Generated 

Artist Tara Geer Goes Through Hundreds of Pencils a Day Creating Charcoal Drawings in Her Harlem Studio, Dog by Her Side 

Famed Art Dealer Massimo de Carlo Has Revealed Plans for a Monumental Private Art Foundation in Italy. Here’s What We Know 

Artist Michael Moebius Is Suing Fast Fashion Retailer Shein in a Landmark Case for Artists Going After Multinational Companies 

He Overpaid, Bid Against Himself, and Hid a Monet in His Basement. Here’s What We Still Need to Learn From Visionary Art Dealer Joseph Duveen 

Two 10th-Century Stone Idols, Which Were Stolen From a Temple in India and Found in a Garden Shed in the U.K., Will Be Repatriated 

How Indie Band Manchester Orchestra Brought Its Latest Album to Life by Blending Music and Immersive VR Art 

Influencers Are Realizing That A.I. Might Not Be a Magic Money-Making Machine For Artists After All 


Follow Artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In