Environmentalists Throw Soup at Mona Lisa

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Environmental activists threw soup at the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris on Sunday morning. The museum reports that a layer of glass protects the world-famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci. The two militants said they were campaigning for “the right to healthy and sustainable food.”

Two activists throw soup on the armoured glass in front of Da Vinci’s 16th-century masterpiece. The two activists sit before the world-famous painting and ask: “What is more important? Art or the right to healthy and sustainable food?”

At the time of the action, several visitors were present in the room where the Mona Lisa hangs. The area was immediately evacuated and is being cleaned. Other climate activists previously smeared the glass of well-known paintings, such as Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh, in The National Gallery in London in 2022.

The action was claimed in a statement by a collective that calls itself ‘Riposte alimentaire’ and is conducting a “campaign of French civil resistance” “that wants to stimulate a radical change in society on a climate and social level”. The soup on the Mona Lisa is “the starting signal of a campaign of civil resistance with a clear demand for the benefit of everyone: the social security of sustainable food”.

The Mona Lisa has been the target of vandalism several times. In May 2022, a cream cake was thrown at the painting. In August 2009, a tourist threw a cup of tea at the canvas, shattering the glass display case. Since a man threw a rock at the portrait in 1956 and damaged it, it has been behind glass. Since 2005, the canvas has been hanging in a bulletproof display case with regulated humidity and temperature.

The painting has been exhibited in the Louvre since the French Revolution (1789-1799). After inviting him to visit France, the French king bought the portrait from Da Vinci in 1518. The Italian artist created the Mona Lisa at the beginning of the sixteenth century. It is probably a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of the Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo.

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