Botticelli’s Birth of Venus Targeted by Climate Activists in Florence


Two climate activists affixed images of environmental destruction to the glass panel protecting Botticelli’s fifteenth century masterpiece The Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

The activists were from the group Last Generation, a national student-led alliance that selected its name because they consider themselves to be the last generation before reaching a tipping point in the earth’s climate system. The photos they overlaid on The Birth of Venus depicted a flooded Tuscan town.

“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,” one of the protestors stated. “And instead of dealing with these real problems, it makes absurd laws”.

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Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus (1485)

They were subsequently removed from the gallery and taken to a police station, reported France 24.

In November, a judge in Florence ruled that two activists who glued their hands to the glass protecting another Boticelli canvas in the Uffizi in 2022 were not guilty of committing a felony.

In January, a law increasing penalties for those who damage monuments and cultural sites was approved by the Italian parliament. This comes after a wave of ongoing climate protests has gripped Europe.

Last Generation began its peaceful protests in Italy in 2022, prior to the country’s general election. During these protests, activists often pleaded politicians to prioritize climate change.

Italy is expected to produce significantly higher emissions that those slated for its 2030 target, the European Commission said recently.

Throughout Europe, there have been a number of climate–related protests, including most recently the Mona Lisa being splashed with soup, as well as Monet’s Le Printemps.

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