Milan, restoration team will be needed to clean monument daubed by activists

The cleaning of the monument to Victor Emmanuel II in Milan's Piazza Duomo, daubed by eco-activists last March 9, proved more difficult than expected: in fact, the paint is not going away, a team of restorers will be needed.

It will take a specialized team of restorers to clean up the equestrian monument to Victor Emmanuel II in Milan’s Piazza Duomo , created by Ercole Rosa between 1879 and 1896. This is the news coming out just hours after the Council of Ministers announced a bill to punish those who deface or damage monuments or artistic beauty.

The King on Horseback in Milan’s Piazza Duomo, you may recall, was daubed by “Ultima Generazione” activists last March 9 with the throwing and spraying of yellow paint from fire extinguishers modified as needed. And so more than a month later we see the plinth with the marble lions and bronze horse still smeared with yellow. This is becauseAmsa, the municipality’s public hygiene company, could only give up on seeing that with a simple jet of water the paint would not come off, and since the monument is protected, it did not intervene in a more invasive way. The decision of the municipality in agreement with the Superintendence therefore was to make a call for the restoration of the work with specialized technicians.

This defacement is the second in a few months to the city of Milan: the same Ultima Generazione activists in January had struck Maurizio Cattelan ’s monument in Piazza Affari. The reasons they give to explain these gestures are that it is not scandalous to deface a statue but “the real scandal is the government’s absolute indifference to our lives, which the climate crisis will destroy and is already destroying. Italy is the world’s sixth largest investor in fossil fuels, investing even more than Russia and Saudi Arabia. We need to get rid of oil, coal and gas immediately: doing so is possible, we just lack the political will because we live in a system where the profit of a few matters more than the lives of millions. The government has invested 41.8 billion in the extraction of fossil fuels in 2021 alone: We demand that this mountain of money be taken out of fossil fuels immediately and invested in a just ecological transition, in measures to benefit the health of citizens and in the future of the younger generations.”

It should be noted that the ecoactivists had repeatedly stated that their paint would go away with water, but that has not been the case. And from now on they will have to be more careful because the government’s draft bill states that fines could go up to 60,000 euros: “Whoever destroys, disperses, deteriorates or renders in whole or in part unserviceable or unusable cultural or landscape property belonging to himself or others shall be punished by the administrative penalty of payment of a sum from 20 thousand euros to 60 thousand euros,” and in another passage it says: “anyone who, outside the cases referred to in the first paragraph, defaces or defaces cultural or scenic property belonging to him or to others, or puts cultural property to a use detrimental to its preservation or integrity or to a use incompatible with its historical or artistic character, shall be punished by the administrative penalty of payment of a sum of from 10 thousand to 40 thousand euros.” All this is in addition to what is already provided for in our system, such as those in the code for crimes of damage, which also provide for imprisonment from six months to three years.

Photo: Giorces/Wikimedia

Milan, restoration team will be needed to clean monument daubed by activists
Milan, restoration team will be needed to clean monument daubed by activists

Warning: the translation into English of the original Italian article was created using automatic tools. We undertake to review all articles, but we do not guarantee the total absence of inaccuracies in the translation due to the program. You can find the original by clicking on the ITA button. If you find any mistake,please contact us.