A man disguised as a woman has been sent for a psychiatric examination after he smeared cream cake on the case that houses the Mona Lisa in an apparent protest over climate change.
The 36-year-old man ripped off his scarf and rose from his wheelchair behind the barrier that keeps visitors three meters away from Leonardo's masterpiece in the Louvre in Paris, wearing a wig and lipstick.
He strolled to the case, dressed in white slacks, a T-shirt, and a scarf, and rubbed cream on the bottom section of the bulletproof glass. He threw rose petals on the floor as workers approached.
Videos released on social media purport to show a young man in a wheelchair wearing a wig and lipstick. The man, whose name was unknown, was also observed in the museum gallery throwing roses.
"There are people who are ruining the Earth... All artists think about the Earth," he said in French as guards walked him out. That is why I took action. Consider the world."
The man was able to get through security because of the Louvre's policy of assisting persons with limited mobility, according to the museum.
The prosecutor's office said it had launched an investigation into "an attempt to vandalize a cultural production," and that the guy, who is thought to be French, was being assessed by the police psychiatric unit.
According to The Guardian, a 36-year-old man was arrested and placed under psychiatric custody in connection with the incident, while the Paris prosecutor's office launches an inquiry into an attempt to vandalize a cultural work.
The famous painting is a target of vandals
The “Mona Lisa,” has the highest-known insurance valuation for a painting, according to Guinness World Records. The painting was insured for $100 million in 1962–or $172 million today–in preparation for the painting to be loaned out to the U.S. for a special exhibition.
Since its theft in 1911 by a museum employee, the Mona Lisa, the world's most renowned artwork, has been the object of countless attacks and protests. After a flurry of journalistic coverage and a police investigation that featured the young Pablo Picasso as a suspect, it was discovered two years later.
It was also damaged in an acid attack by a vandal in the 1950s, and has been kept behind glass since then.
A Russian lady, enraged at her inability to obtain French citizenship, threw a ceramic cup at it in 2009, destroying the cup but not the glass or the painting.
After a Bolivian visitor hurled a stone at it in 1956, shattering a weaker glass covering and chipping off a particle of pigment near the figure's left elbow, the painting was given bulletproof protection. A woman splashed it with red paint while it was on loan in Tokyo in 1974, in protest of the museum's inability to offer access for disabled people.
In 2009, a Russian woman protested the authorities' reluctance to grant her French citizenship by throwing a teacup at it, which caused no harm.
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Banksy's 'Mona Lisa Bazooka' mural appeared in the Soho district of West London.[/caption]
In the name of parody and caricature, the Mona Lisa has been metaphorically mutilated. In 1919, Marcel Duchamp, the father of conceptual art, defiled a postcard print by painting a moustache and goatee beard on it, along with a smutty title.
Andy Warhol and advertising have recently created amusing variations of the little picture. The street artist Banksy painted her with an AK47 assault gun in 2000.
After a hiatus during the pandemic, visitors are flocking to see the 16th-century work once more. More than 80% of the Louvre's 10 million annual visitors come solely to see the Mona Lisa.
Visitors have around 30 seconds to examine the piece as they pass it, and while most do so on their phones, no footage of the "entartrage," as the assault by cream cake is known in French, has surfaced on social media. However, video exists of the audience cheering the employee who cleaned the window.
The picture by Leonardo da Vinci is too fragile to travel, and even moving it within the Louvre is difficult. During renovations to its specific cage at the Salle des Etats gallery in 2019, it spent many months in another room.