A 36-year-old man was arrested and placed in psychiatric care after he smeared cake on a glass screen covering the Mona Lisa, prosecutors said Monday, in an alleged protest against artists not focusing enough on ” the planet”.
Officials at the Louvre Museum in Paris, where the enigmatic portrait takes pride of place, declined to comment on Sunday’s bizarre incident, which was captured on multiple phones and widely circulated on social media.
The prized work of Leonardo da Vinci, which has been the target of vandalism attempts in the past, escaped unscathed thanks to its bulletproof glass case.
A Twitter user identified as Lukeee posted a video showing a museum employee cleaning glass and another showing a man dressed in white being escorted by security guards.
“A man dressed as an old woman jumps out of a wheelchair and tries to break the bulletproof glass of the Mona Lisa. He then proceeds to spread cake on the glass and throws roses everywhere, all before being approached by security,” Lukeee wrote.
Speaking French, the man says: “There are people who are destroying the Earth… All artists, think about the Earth. That’s why I did this. Think of the planet.
No images have surfaced showing the actual incident.
An investigation has been opened into “an attempt to vandalize a cultural work,” the Paris prosecutor’s office said.
The Mona Lisa has been behind glass since a Bolivian man threw a rock at the painting in December 1956, damaging her left elbow. In 2005, it was placed in a reinforced box that also controls temperature and humidity.
In 2009, a Russian woman threw an empty teacup at the painting, which slightly scratched the box.
The Louvre is the world’s largest museum, home to hundreds of thousands of works that drew some 10 million visitors a year before the Covid-19 pandemic.