Art on display at Berlin's Museum Island vandalised

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 23, 2020

Ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, stone sculptures and 19th century paintings are among the works damaged wtih an oily substance on October 3, according to Berlin police.

Overall, 63 works in the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Neues Museum have been changed, said Christina Haak, deputy director of Berlin's country museums.

"There was no thematic connection between the works, and" no pattern is discernible" into the perpetrator's strategy, Haak added.

At least 70 artifacts and artworks were targeted nearly three weeks ago in what German newspaper Die Zeit describes as "one of the most extensive attacks on works of art and antiquities in the history of post-war Germany", per Deutsche Welle.

The liquid was oily but not corrosive, said Friederike Seyfried, the director of Berlin's Egyptian collection, which is housed in the Neues Museum.

German police are investigating after dozens of priceless artifacts in some of Berlin's most famous museums were daubed with an oily liquid by unkown vandals, causing possibly irreparable damage, officials said on Wednesday.

Carsten Pfohl, a senior official with Berlin's criminal police office, said that more than 3,000 people visited the Museum Island on October 3, a Saturday on which Germany marked the 30th anniversary of its reunification.

A joint article by the Die Zeit weekly and public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, which first reported the incident late Tuesday, noted that Attila Hildmann, an activist who has railed against government measures to contain the coronavirus, had in August and September spread outlandish conspiracy theories about Museum Island.

According to the Guardian, German media outlets associated the attack on Museum Island with "conspiracy theories" promoted on social media platforms in recent months by those who deny the existence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Officials weren't aware of any threats.

Seyfried said the works affected didn't include any paintings and also weren't among the complex's best-known attractions.

Germany's culture minister, Monika Gruetters, strongly condemned the damage to the artworks.

"The" numerous functions" on the town's Museum Island have been" assaulted" between 10:00 and 18:00 on 3 October, German authorities said in an announcement.

He said there had been about 3,000 people visiting the museums that day and initial viewing of security camera footage had not turned up any suspects.

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