The Louvre Museum in Paris has submitted a formal complaint after the glass around the iconic painting the Mona Lisa was smeared with cake by a climate change protester yesterday (May 30).
A formal investigation into an alleged attempt to damage a cultural item has been opened, the Paris prosecutor has confirmed. Investigation details have been passed to the police station in the 8th arrondissement.
The incident happened when a 38-year-old man, who dressed as an old lady in a wheelchair to gain close-up access to the painting, smeared its glass protective cover with cake and threw roses on the ground. The AFP reported that he also tried to smash the glass.
As he was escorted out by security and handed over to police, he said: “Think about the Earth. There are people who are destroying the Earth. All artists, think about the Earth. That’s why I did this. Think about the planet.”
The man has now been admitted to a police psychiatric hospital, the prosecutor said.
The Louvre confirmed that the painting was not damaged, and the cake was quickly wiped and cleaned away by staff.
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, prosecutors said, in a purported protest against artists not focusing enough on "the planet" https://t.co/fLsoX02ibG pic.twitter.com/opMgDsKlGE— AFP News Agency (@AFP) May 31, 2022
In a statement, the Museum said: “A visitor simulated a disability in order to have a wheelchair at his disposal and to approach the work installed in a secure display case. The Louvre applied its usual procedures for people with reduced mobility, allowing them to admire this major work of the Louvre.
“While standing near the work, the individual threw a pastry he had hidden in his personal belongings at the Mona Lisa. This had no effect on the painting, which was not damaged in any way.
“The individual was immediately seized and evacuated by the reception and security staff and handed over to the police, who came to the scene. The Louvre Museum has filed a complaint.”