Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’ Is Targeted in the Latest Climate Protest

At least two protesters were reportedly arrested.

Last Generation climate activists are seen with Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Photo courtesy of Last Generation

Climate activists plastered photos of Campi Bisenzio, a Tuscan town ravaged by flooding last year, over the glass protecting Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

Campi Bisenzio, just a few miles northwest of Florence, suffered extreme flooding in November that led to the deaths of at least seven people as thousands of others were cut off from crucial supplies. The region is among those globally at most risk of suffering from extreme weather caused by climate change.

The Italian arm of Last Generation shared photos and videos online of the protest Tuesday, February 13. Artnet News has reached out to the protest group but did not hear back by press time. “We ask the government to take concrete action to support communities affected by climate disasters. They can censor us, but they cannot censor reality,” the protest group said in one of its posts.

In another post on X, the protest group shared a picture of a 46-year-old activist identified as Giordano, noting that he “accepted the risk of ending up in prison.”

“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,” Giordano said, according to the newswire Agence France-Presse.

The report said that two of the activists were taken to a local police station. It was not immediately clear with what they were charged.

Activists with Last Generation, among those of other groups, have been protesting the devastating effects of climate change at museums and cultural institutions since 2022. In the past year, demonstrators from the group have staged protests at the Vatican in Rome, the Leopold Museum in Vienna, and Palazzo Bonaparte in Rome, among other venues, where they variously flung paint or soup at artworks, and glued themselves to the frames of paintings.

In January, Italy’s parliament approved a law that raises the penalty for those who damage monuments and cultural sites because of such protests.

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