Protesters throw soup at da Vinci painting
Environmental activists have hurled soup at the Mona Lisa, which is encased in glass protection, in France, advocating for the entitlement to “nutritious and sustainable food”.
The Mona Lisa, a renowned 16th-century masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, is housed at the Louvre in the heart of Paris.
Confirming the incident, the Louvre assured that the artwork remained unharmed as it was shielded by protective glass.
Video footage captures two female demonstrators donning T-shirts bearing the slogan “food counterattack” as they pour liquid onto the painting.
Subsequently, they position themselves in front of the artwork, questioning, “What holds greater significance? Art or the right to nutritious and sustainable food?”
The protesters assert, “Your agricultural system is ailing. Our farmers are perishing in their labor.”
Security personnel intervene by placing black screens before the demonstrators, leading to the evacuation of the area.
The demonstration was claimed by a group known as Riposte Alimentaire (Food Counterattack).
In a statement released via X, formerly Twitter, the group articulated that the action was part of their campaign to incorporate “food within the broader social safety net”.
It underscored that the prevailing food paradigm “marginalizes the most vulnerable and disregards our inherent right to sustenance”.
Advocating for change, the group demanded the allocation of a €150 (£128) monthly food allowance for citizens.
According to the Louvre, members of Riposte Alimentaire, identified as an environmental movement, splashed pumpkin soup onto the painting around 10:00 local time (09:00 GMT), causing no harm to the artwork.
It said the Salle des Etats, where the work is displayed, was evacuated and reopened to visitors at 11:30 after cleaning was carried out.
“The museum will complain,” it added.
Rachida Dati, France’s Minister for Culture, said “no cause” could justify the Mona Lisa being targeted.
“Like our heritage [the painting] belongs to future generations,” she said on X.
The French capital has seen protests by farmers in recent days, calling for an end to rising fuel costs and for regulations to be simplified – on Friday they blocked key roads in and out of Paris.
The Mona Lisa has been behind safety glass since the early 1950s when it was damaged by a visitor who poured acid on it.
In 2019, the museum said it had installed a more transparent form of bulletproof glass to protect it.
In 2022, an activist threw cake at the painting, urging people to “think of the Earth”.
The painting was stolen from the Louvre in 1911, causing an international sensation. Vincenzo Peruggia, an employee of the world’s most visited museum, hid in a cupboard overnight to take the painting.
It was recovered two years later when he tried to sell it to an antique dealer in Florence, Italy.