A man posing as an elderly woman in a wheelchair took out his frustration on the Mona Lisa, da Vinci’s most famous painting.
While the masterpiece was not damaged, it did receive a white cream smearing all over its glass. In addition, a culprit wearing a wig and lipstick encouraged people to think of Earth while being captured from the scene.
Louvre guests were left speechless by what unfolded in front of their eyes on Sunday. Luke Sundberg, from the US, witnessed all that had happened.
“The crowd began gasping, and we looked up, and some man in a wheelchair [dressed] as an old lady ran up to the painting and started punching it before smearing cake all over it,” said the 20-year-old visitor in an interview with PA news network.
“It took about 10 to 15 seconds for the security to actually take the man away, but the crowd seemed [to] panic a little bit,” he added. “It was jaw-dropping, it was a lot to take in considering how historic Mona Lisa is… the moment was once in a million.”
The man, who was seen throwing roses in the gallery, was escorted out by security.
“Think of the Earth,” he said. “There are people who are destroying the Earth. Think about it. Artists tell you: think of the Earth. That’s why I did this.”
On Monday, the Paris prosecutor’s office said that the 36-year-old activist was detained and dispatched to a police psychiatric unit, further stating that it had begun investigating the damage done to a cultural artifact.
Thankfully, the Renaissance painting was installed in glass to ensure it could be safely stored following an acid attack in the 1950s.
A footage from Sundberg revealed onlookers clapping after the cream was entirely removed from the glass.
“What were the odds this would happen?” asked another museum guest, 26-year-old Klevis, from Albania.
Opinions expressed by Artist Weekly contributors are their own.