The famous Leopold Museum, a recent target of environmental activists, has tilted 15 canvases of the number of degrees whose landscapes depicted could warm in the coming years in the event of uncontrolled climate change.

A disturbing vision, when usually these paintings are soothing.

"An increase in temperature of only a few degrees would promote algae blooms and gradually dry out the beautiful turquoise lake," reads the Attersee chart.

For future generations to admire this landscape as painted by the artist, warming must be contained to 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era, warns the museum, while experts of the IPCC have called this week to act radically to ensure "a livable future".

Seeing "beautiful places" in an unstable position is sad and "encourages action" for "what will be lost," said Sofie Skoven, a Danish student visiting the Austrian capital with her class.

The director of the Leopold Museum, Hans-Peter Wipplinger, in front of the painting "At Lake Attersee" by Gustav Klimt, hung crookedly, on March 22, 2023 in Vienna © JOE KLAMAR / AFP

The project is named "A few degrees more" by this institution housing, with its 6,000 pieces, one of the largest collections of Austrian art in the world, focusing on the second half of the nineteenth century and the modernism that followed.

With this initiative, director Hans-Peter Wipplinger explains "wanting to warn about the dramatic consequences of the climate crisis".

The concept was in fact imagined as a response to activists who had sprayed a painting of Klimt - protected by a glass - with a black liquid in November to denounce a partnership between the museum and the oil giant OMV.

Paintings by Richard Gerstl, one of which hangs crookedly, on March 22, 2023 at the Leopold Museum in Vienna © JOE KLAMAR / AFP

A stroke of brilliance that had not appreciated the head of the museum, who denounces "a bad method". Because it was necessary to multiply from the windows in front of the canvases, strengthen the surveillance of the rooms and the controls at the entrance.

It regrets the cost involved, while insurance premiums have also risen, without it being possible to guarantee that such measures "prevent" another incident from occurring.

Visitors look at a painting by Gustav Klimt, on March 22, 2023 at the Leopold Museum in Vienna, as part of the "A Few Degrees More" initiative. © JOE KLAMAR / AFP

Visible until June and developed with a network of Austrian scientists dedicated their research to climate, the initiative was variously received by visitors.

The gaze gets used to it and in the end, it "trivializes warming," said Joachim Burdack, a 71-year-old German retiree.

© 2023 AFP