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Man Dressed as Old Woman Attacks Mona Lisa: Protest or Vandalism?

A man disguised as an old woman in a wheelchair attacked the Mona Lisa, as an environmental protest. The incident at the Louvre Museum in Paris that happened on May 29, 2022, was captured by several visitors and it has been widely circulating on social media.


According to the bystanders, the man dressed in a wig and wearing lipstick jumped out of a wheelchair and attempted to smash the protective glass before smearing cake across its surface. Then he threw roses around him, which can be seen on the ground in one of the videos shared on social media. He was immediately seized by security guards. As seen in the footage circulating on social media platforms, while this man was being escorted out of the room he said to the other visitors: “There are people who are destroying the Earth. All artists, think about the Earth. That’s why I did this. Think of the planet.”


The museum clarifies that the man simulated a disability to take advantage of the museum policy aimed to help people with mobility problems to see the works in the Louvre’s collection clearly. The wheelchair that allowed him to get close enough to attack the masterpiece can be seen in the video shared on Twitter.


Even though the Louvre houses many masterpieces in its collection, the Mona Lisa can be considered the most famous piece of artwork currently exhibited in the museum. The masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci was purchased by King François I in 1518 and it has been shown at the Louvre since the French Revolution.


According to The Guardian, the Mona Lisa was attacked by a man throwing a rock at the painting in December 1956 which damaged the left elbow of the painted figure. After this incident, the painting was placed behind glass. Since 2005, the Mona Lisa has been exhibited in a reinforced protective glass case in the center of the Salle des États. The special treatment ensures the safety of the work as well as maintains the conservation requirements by keeping the temperature and humidity in control. After the placement in the reinforced glass, a woman threw a ceramic cup at the painting in 2009, which only scratched the glass.


By the means of this protective glass case, the famous work by Leonardo da Vinci wasn’t damaged by the attack on May 29, 2022. In one of the videos on social media, museum staff can be seen as he was wiping the cream off the glass case.


A Louvre spokesperson confirms that the museum has handed the man over to the police and they are pressing charges against him. The Paris prosecutor’s office said that an inquiry into an attempt to vandalize a cultural work has been opened.


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Tags: #louvre #vandalism #climateprotest #monalisa



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