Climate activists douse Monet painting in mashed potatoes

The Letzte Generation activists with Claude Monet’s Les Meules.

Claude Monet has become the latest artist to be the focus of foodrelated climate protests after members of a German environmental group threw mashed potatoes over one of his paintings in a museum in Potsdam yesterday.

Nine days after Just Stop Oil emptied tomato soup over Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London.

Two activists from Letzte Generation (Last Generation) entered the Barberini Museum and doused Monet’s Les Meules (Haystacks) with sloppy potato before glueing their hands to the wall.

The protesters said the stunt was designed as a wake-up call in the face of climate catastrophe.

“People are starving, people are freezing, people are dying,” one of the activists said in a video on Twitter.

“We are in a climate catastrophe and all you are afraid of is tomato soup or mashed potatoes on a painting … I’m afraid because science tells us that we won’t be able to feed our families in 2050.

Does it take mashed potatoes on a painting to make you listen? This painting is not going to be worth anything if we have to fight over food.”

A spokeswoman for the museum said the painting was covered by glass so the canvas was not damaged during the incident. She said police had arrived quickly and that the protesters’ hands had detached from the wall “relatively easily”.

Last year, Letzte Generation staged a hunger strike outside the Reichstag building in Berlin to protest about the lack of political action over the climate emergency.

Earlier this year, they glued themselves to some of Germany’s busiest motorways.

The group, which accused the German government of ignoring all warnings and bringing the country to “the edge of the abyss”, says it is the last generation that can prevent society from collapsing.

“Facing this reality, we accept high [fines], criminal charges and deprivation of liberty undaunted,”it says on its website.

Art galleries have become popular venues for attention-grabbing protests recently. In July, two members of the Italian group Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) glued their palms to the glass protecting Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera at Florence’s Uffizi gallery.

A fortnight earlier campaigners glued themselves to a painting of The Last Supper at London’s Royal Academy.

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