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Spain: Climate activists glue hands to Goya paintings

November 5, 2022

The two activists drew "+1.5°C" on the museum wall, referring to international agreements to curb global warming. The latest art protest comes ahead of the start of this year's UN climate conference in Egypt.

Climate activists stick themselves to Goya paintings with "1,5°C" graffiti on the wall behind them
Climate activists in Spain glued their hands to the frames of two Goya paintingsImage: FuturoVegetal via REUTERS

Two climate activists glued themselves to the frames of two paintings by Francisco Goya at the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spanish police said.

The protest did not damage either painting. The two paintings were "La maja vestida" and "La maja desnuda."

The protesters drew "+1.5°C" on the wall between the two paintings, referring to the 1.5-degree-Celsius (2.7 F) warming cap established by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Spanish police said they detained the two activists.

The group Futuro Vegetal (Plant Future) claimed responsibility for the protest and posted a video of the two activists on Twitter.

"Last week the UN recognized the impossibility of keeping us below the limit of 1.5°. We need change now," the group tweeted, referring to a UN report that warned that the window to cap emissions is closing.

"We condemn the use of the museum as a place to make a political protest of any kind," the Prado gallery said in a statement.

Saturday's protest comes ahead of the start of the COP27 climate conference in Egypt, which begins this week.

Protests targeting artworks

This is not the first time climate activists have targeted a famous artwork in protest actions.

On Friday, the group Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) threw pea soup over on an artwork by Vincent van Gogh at the Palazzo Bonaparte in Rome. Four activists were arrested in the action.

In October, activists from Just Stop Oil splashed tomato soup over van Gogh's "Sunflowers" at the UK's National Gallery in London.

Other protests have involved the use of cake or mashed potatoes and targeted such works such as the "Mona Lisa" at the Louvre in Paris and "Girl with a Pearl Earring" at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague.

All the artworks remained undamaged, as they were behind protective glass.

sdi/rs (AFP, Reuters, dpa)