An attention-seeking climate change activist was filmed attacking the Mona Lisa inside the Louvre Museum on Saturday. The incident stunned nearby onlookers, who filmed the vandalism of the priceless Leonardo da Vinci famed masterpiece.
A man reportedly entered the museum disguised as a wheelchair-bound elderly woman, complete with a wig. Some speculated that he could have been trans. The vandalism attack started when he rose from the wheelchair, then jumping toward the Mona Lisa and threw a full-sized cake on the painting.
Oh my God! Mona Lisa!
Hopefully not too much damage! pic.twitter.com/mjugzDgc9B
— Anna (@AnnaART89333) May 30, 2022
Guards quickly grabbed the man and escorted him away from the painting, who was subsequently seen yelling "Think about Earth!"
The vandal is seen yelling in French: "Think about Earth! There are people who destroy it. All artists think about it. That's why I did it," according to videos of the aftermath. Images of the moment the cake was thrown at the painting have yet to emerge.
Given the Mona Lisa has been subject of multiple vandalism attempts going back decades, it has thankfully long been encased in bulletproof class, with the Louvre not reporting any damage to the paining in this latest incident.
"A man dressed as an old lady jumps out of a wheelchair and attempted to smash the bulletproof glass of the Mona Lisa. Then proceeds to smear cake on the glass and throws roses everywhere, all before being tackled by security," one eyewitness was quoted in The Guardian as saying.
A museum employee in the attack aftermath is seen attempting to wipe the cake cream from the Mona Lisa's class case, only smearing it further as crowds gather to take photos of the temporary defacement.
Interestingly, The Guardian is further reporting that after the man's detention he was placed in psychiatric care:
A 36-year-old man has been arrested and placed in psychiatric care after he smeared a glass screen encasing the Mona Lisa with cake in a purported protest against artists not focusing enough on "the planet".
Prior attempts to put a specific value to da Vinci's most well-known masterpiece have ranged from $900,000 to as much as tens of billions of dollars, based largely on historic insurance adjustors' analysis.
The Mona Lisa's elbow was damaged in a well-known 1956 attack after a Bolivian man threw a rock at the painting, resulting in greater security.
A temperature and humidity controlling reinforced case was added in 2005.
Maybe this is just nuts to me????but an man dressed as an old lady jumps out of a wheel chair and attempted to smash the bullet proof glass of the Mona Lisa. Then proceeds to smear cake on the glass, and throws roses everywhere all before being tackled by security. ??????? pic.twitter.com/OFXdx9eWcM
— Lukeee???? (@lukeXC2002) May 29, 2022
Years later in 2009, a Russian woman hurled an empty teacup at it. At this point, the protective case is bulletproof, in an attempt to prevent any and all possible scenarios of destruction or vandalism from the millions of visitors who pass through the Louvre each month.