The Mona Lisa was the target of an attempted vandalism on Sunday when a visitor to the world-famous Louvre Museum in Paris smeared glaze all over the protective glass of a Renaissance painting.
The man, who appeared to be wearing a wig in a video of the incident posted to social media, approached the painting in a wheelchair before throwing a piece of cake at it, according to a statement from the Louvre. Video of the aftermath shows him walking with a wheelchair nearby.
“The visitor feigned a disability in order to use a wheelchair to get close to the work, which was installed in a secure display case. The Louvre has applied its usual procedures for people with limited mobility, allowing them to admire this large work of art, ”the message says. the statement is noted.
“While next to the painting, this man threw the cake, which he had hidden in his personal belongings, into the Mona Lisa’s glass display case. This action did not affect the painting, which was unharmed in any way.”
The representative explained that visitors in wheelchairs are allowed to move in front of other museum visitors in order to get a better view of the work.
A visitor to the Louvre smeared a cake on the glass protecting the Mona Lisa.
Credit: @klevisl007 via Twitter/Reuters
A 36-year-old man was arrested and taken to a psychiatric hospital at police headquarters, according to Paris prosecutors. The prosecutor’s office opened a criminal case on the fact of “an attempt to damage cultural property.” The Louvre filed a complaint.
In another video from the scene, a staff member was seen removing the icing from the glass.
Possibly the world’s most famous painting, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece draws millions of visitors every year who line up to pose in front of the small piece of art, which is just over 2.5 feet tall and less than 2 feet wide.
The enigmatic portrait is familiar with both vandalism and theft. In 1911, it was stolen by a Louvre employee, boosting its international profile, and in the 1950s, the bottom of the canvas was attacked with acid, forcing the museum to tighten the protective measures surrounding the piece, including bulletproof glass. In 2009, an angry woman threw a ceramic cup at the painting, breaking the cup but not damaging the painting.
This article has been updated with a statement from the Louvre.