May 30, 2022 - World

Mona Lisa attacked in apparent climate-related protest

The portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, known as the Mona Lisa.
The Mona Lisa painting at the Louvre museum in Paris. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images

A man who dressed as a woman in a wheelchair smeared the glass protecting Mona Lisa with cake at the Louvre on Sunday, the Associated Press reports, while imploring people to "think of the earth."

Driving the news: The Louvre confirmed to Axios that an individual threw "a pastry that he had hidden" at the window of the Mona Lisa after the museum "applied its usual procedures for people with reduced mobility, allowing them to admire this major work."

  • Video footage captured at the historic museum showed the young man, who wore a wig and lipstick, jump out of a wheelchair to "smear cake on the glass" and throw "roses everywhere before being tackled by security," wrote one Twitter user who posted the video.
  • Leonardo da Vinci's famed painting was left unharmed, according to the Louvre.

The perpetrator was escorted out of the museum by security.

  • “Think of the Earth," he shouted in French, per AP. "There are people who are destroying the Earth. Think about it. Artists tell you: think of the Earth. That’s why I did this.”

What they're saying: "The museum salutes the professionalism of its agents who reacted immediately during this incident. It also recalls that monitoring national collections is at the heart of their missions," Marion Benaiteau, communications officer for the Louvre, told Axios in a translated email.

Flashback: The Mona Lisa painting has been tampered with before. It was stolen in 1911 by a museum employee, CNN reports.

  • The painting was damaged during an acid attack in the 1950s. Since then, the painting has remained behind glass, per AP.
  • In 2009, a Russian woman threw a ceramic cup at Mona Lisa, too, Reuters reports.
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