Modeling themselves after British activist groups such as Extinction Rebellion and others elsewhere who have used similar tactics, activists from Italy’s Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) climate crisis action group glued themselves to the Laocoön group of statuary, one of the Vatican Museum’s most famous statues, holding up a placard saying “no gas and no coal”.
Laocoön, one of the most famous sculptures of Greek and Roman antiquity, shows the Trojan priest and his two sons being killed by sea snakes sent by Poseidon after vainly trying to warn them about the Greek’s Trojan Horse ruse.
Ultima Generazione said in a statement, “Like Laocoön, scientists and activists are witnesses trying to warn those around them of the consequences that today’s actions will have on the future. Like Laocoön, scientists and activists are not being listened to or, even worse, they are being silenced by the political world, which is more interested in defending the privileges of a minority than proving for the good of the community”.
Laura, one of the two activists who glued themselves to the statue, said, “In our movement there are parents, there are children, united by the will to push the world of politics to make the right choices to curb climate change before it is too late”.
The statue of Laocoön and His Sons, was excavated in Rome in 1506 and placed on public display in the Vatican Museums, where it remains. It is very likely the same statue that was praised in the highest terms by the main Roman writer on art, Pliny the Elder. The figures are near life-size, showing the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus being attacked by sea serpents. The group has been called “the prototypical icon of human agony” in Western art.