Climate Activists Who Glued Themselves to Raphael’s ‘Sistine Madonna’ Should Pay Fines, Dresden Prosecutors Say

Two climate activists who glued their hands to the frame of Raphael’s Sistine Madonna at the Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden should pay for “community damage to property,” the Dresden prosecutor’s office announced today. 

According to dpa, the prosecutor’s office has requested the 22-year-old and 29-year-old activists each pay 1,500 euros.

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The pair, members of the German environmental group Letzte Generation (Last Generation), entered the gallery on August 23, 2022, and attached one hand each to the frame of the world-famous altar painting from the 16th century. The picture itself was not damaged, however the demonstration left traces of superglue on the frame and harmed the frame’s protective finish, resulting in property damages of around 2,300 euros. 

The Dresden State Art Collections (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, more commonly called SKD) subsequently filed a complaint with the city’s public prosecutor’s office for “damage to property that is harmful to the community” and initiated civil proceedings for damages. The pair has also been banned from all 15 of SKD’s institutions.

The case against a 23-year-old activist who filmed the action and posted it to social media was dropped. 

Last Generation, however, seems not to have been dissuaded by the prospect of civil charges. Also in 2022, other members of the group glued themselves to the frame of a Peter Paul Rubens painting at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, resulting in 11,000 euros worth of damage. The aim is to “stop the fossil fuel madness,” according to the group’s website. 


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