Home Arts Climate protesters attack the Degas sculpture at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC

Climate protesters attack the Degas sculpture at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC

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Climate protesters vandalize Edgar Degas window little dancer sculpture at the National Gallery of Art Museum in Washington, DC

Two protesters, who have not yet been named and have not pledged allegiance to a protest group, smeared red and black paint over the window of the small wax sculpture titled The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer Or Fourteen year old dancerwhich was created by the French impressionist artist in 1880.

Kaywin Feldman, the museum’s director, “unequivocally denounced this physical assault,” she said in a statement. statement. She called little dancer “a priceless work of art”. The sculpture was removed from display while museum curators “assess potential damage,” Feldman said.

On Twitter, video pictures posted by the Washington Post shows a man and woman in black suits coating the enclosure with paint before staging a protest sit-in outside the vandalized enclosure before being handcuffed and forcibly detained by security. One of the protesters can be heard calling on the US government to ‘help protect the health and safety of our children’. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is participating in the investigation, Feldman said.

The work is the only sculpture Degas exhibited publicly during his lifetime, when he exhibited in Paris in 1881. It is based on a young ballerina named Marie van Goethem, who was studying ballet in Paris.

The National Gallery of Art has long exhibited the original sculpture, but several bronze casts have been made. One of the casts sold for $41.6 million after being auctioned off from the collection of the late Anne Bass, the ex-wife of Texas oil billionaire Sid Bass. The cast was sold at a Christie’s sale in May 2022.

The attack echoes protests by groups like Just Stop Oil in the UK, which made headlines on October 14, 2022 when activists tossed tomato soup at Vincent Van Gogh Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London. Ten days later, protesters from the group Letzte Generation (last generation) reflected the attack by littering mashed potatoes with Claude Monet paint Millstones on display at the Barberini Museum in Potsdam, Germany. A man also attacked Leonardo da Vinci mona-lisa with cake at the Louvre, Paris in May 2022.

The use of foodstuffs to vandalize works of art marked an escalation from previous protests in which protesters glued themselves to famous picture framesincluding, notably, John Constable’s The Hay Wain.

In Germany, the demonstrators glued themselves to works including that of Rubens slaughter of the innocent at the Alte Pinakothek museum in Munich, while in Italy works from the Uffizi museum in Florence and the Vatican museums in Rome have also been targeted.

In November 2022, Just Stop Oil activists warned they would be ready to ‘escalate’ their protests cutting or destroying paintings to communicate their message on climate change. The use of paint on little dancer will be considered such an escalation.

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) has declared his opposition to all demonstrations of climate activism that vandalize art, saying protesters “severely underestimate the fragility” of the works on display. ICOM said museums should be “key players in initiating and supporting climate action”.

In 1914, feminist activist Mary Richardson attacked Diego Velazquez’s painting The Rokeby Venus with a meat cleaver, causing extensive damage, to protest the arrest of fellow suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

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