Munich Court Hears Arguments, Climate Activists on Trial for Damaging Frame in Germany

Two German climate protestors, one 25-years-old and the other 60, are on trial after an action they took at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich left a valuable frame damaged. Today, the court heard arguments from both defendants and plaintiffs.

The activists, both members of the Letze Generazione climate activist organization, glued themselves to the frame of The Bethlehemitische Kindermord (1638) by Peter Paul Rubens. The painting, which depicts children being stolen from the mothers was chosen for the action to represent a future being stolen due to climate change.

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The adhesive left behind on the frame warranted attention by conservators. An initial estimate for the monetary damages was 11,000 Euros, but that price has now ballooned to 50,000, according to a report by Monopol. During court proceedings today, the general director of the Bavarian State Painting Collections, Bernhard Maaz, said that the trace amounts of adhesive left would only be visible to the trained eye.

The defendants’ lawyer attempted to argue that these trace amounts of damage might in fact increase the value of the frame one day, marked as it is now with potentially historical significance and further argued that the charges should be dropped all together. The judge did not agree and the trial will continue later this month to determine if a fine should be levied against the protestors and if so, what amount.

For their part, the protestors stand behind their actions, one of them saying, “I would agree to stick myself to the frame regularly if necessary.” Meanwhile, the younger protestor clarified his organizations actions in museums, “We don’t want to destroy art, we don’t want to be terrorists.”


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