Oct. 23 (BP) — Less than two weeks after members of an anti-oil group defaced a Van Gogh painting in Britain with tomato soup, climate activists in Germany on Sunday threw mashed potatoes at a Claude Monet painting in protest over the European country’s inaction to prevent “a climate catastrophe.”
The two activists from the group the Last Generation doused the famed “Grainstacks” painting with mashed potatoes before glueing their hands to the wall at Museum Barberini in Potsdam.
The group, which has called on Germany to do more to address climate change, said in a statement that the protest calls on society to ask the question: “What is worth more, art of life?”
In video of the incident published by the group online, one of the protesters, who has been identified as Mirjam Herrmann, said that in a few short decades the painting, which is valued at a more than $110 million, will be worthless “if we have to fight over food.”
“People are starving, people are freezing, people are dying. We are in a climate catastrophe,” she said. “And all you are afraid of is tomato soup or mashed potatoes on a painting. You know what I’m afraid of? I’m afraid because science tells us that we won’t be able to feed our families in 2050.”
Museum Barberini said in a statement that the painting was not damaged as it was protected by glass and will be on display again from Wednesday.
“While I understand the activists’ urgent concern in the face of the climate catastrophe, I am shocked by the means with which they are trying to lend weight to their demands,”Ortrud Westheider, the museum’s director, said. “It is in the works of the Impressionists that we see the intense artistic engagement with nature.”
Both activists were arrested and have since been released, the Last Generation said.
The protest was seemingly inspired by the two Just Stop Oil activists who on Oct. 14 splashed cans of tomato soup on Gogh’s 1888 “Sunflowers” painting at London’s National Gallery.
The painting was also undamaged in the incident.
“Grainstacks” was painted by Monet in 1890 and was on permanent loan to Museum Barberini from the Hasso Plattner Foundation when the incident occurred.
Art critic Arthur Brand denounced the move via Twitter on Sunday, saying that “there are hundreds of ways to achieve attention for the climate-problems.”
“This should not be one of them,” he said.