Environmental activists hurl soup at ‘Mona Lisa’ in Paris

Time Of Info By TOI Desk Report   January 29, 2024   Update on : January 29, 2024

Mona Lisa
Photo: Screengrab

Climate activists from the collective Riposte Alimentaire (Food Retaliation) hurled soup at Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre in Paris on Sunday.

No damage was done to the painting as it has been protected under armoured glass since 2005, the museum authorities said.

The environmental group Riposte Alimentaire said two environmental activists involved with its campaign were behind the vandalism. However, Riposte Alimentaire roughly translates to “Food Response”.

A video shows two women throwing orange-coloured soup from bottles at the painting before crossing the wooden barrier protecting it from crowds, reports CNN.

Then, the Louvre’s staff members are seen moving black screens between visitors and the protesters.

A statement from the museum said two activists from the environmental movement ‘Riposte Alimentaire’ sprayed pumpkin soup on the armoured glass protecting the Mona Lisa around 10:00am (4:00am ET) on Sunday (January 28, 2024)”.

However, the Louvre’s security staff immediately intervened, added the statement, adding that the museum was lodging a complaint.

Riposte Alimentaire in a series of social media posts about the incident said the group wanted to draw attention to unsustainable food production and hunger in France.

According to the website of Riposte Alimentaire, the group is part of the A22 Network, a collection of activist groups that orchestrated a similar attack on Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in London in 2022.

The incident comes when French farmers stage widespread demonstrations about pay, competition, and government regulations.

French Culture Minister Rachida Dati condemned the Louvre protest posting to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The “Mona Lisa” that hangs in the Louvre Museum is arguably the most famous painting in the world.

Each year, millions of visitors line up to see, photograph or pose with the artwork– over 2.5 feet tall and under two feet wide.

A Louvre employee had stolen the painting in 1911 and the bottom of the canvas suffered an acid attack in the 1950s. Besides, a woman angrily threw a ceramic cup at the painting in 2009, leaving the painting unharmed.

Then a visitor smeared frosting all over the painting’s protective glass in 2022.


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