Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting, the Mona Lisa, has been left shaken but unharmed after a visitor to the Louvre tried to shatter the glass protecting the world’s most famous painting before smearing a cake across it in an apparent climate-related publicity stunt.
The perpetrator was an adult male disguised as an elderly woman. When he reached the the the Salle des États on Sunday afternoon, he jumped out of a wheelchair and proceeded to beat at the glass screen.
“Maybe this is just nuts to me, ” posted the author of a video of the aftermath of the incident that shows a Louvre worker cleaning the glass. “[He] then proceeds to smear cake on the glass, and throws roses everywhere before being tackled by security.”
The incident caused quite the scene as the perpetrator was removed from the Salle des États. Other visitors were drawn to the scene, and many took photographs and videos of the aftermath as the Louvre staff wiped the cake from the protective glass screen.
One of the videos posted on social media showed the staff member finishing cleaning the pane while another attendant removed the wheelchair from in front of the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece.
“Think of the Earth, people are trying to destroy the Earth,” the man, dressed in a wig, said in French in another video that showed him being taken away from the Paris gallery with the wheelchair, indicating the incident probably had an environmentalist motive.
This incident comes as the latest high profile publicity stunt intending to spread awareness of the global issue of climate change. Over the past few years, such protests have been coordinated throughout much of the western world with the Extinction Rebellion organisation growing from strength to strength.
Other protests have involved people chaining themselves to poignant landmarks or disrupting traffic in busy areas to cause maximum shock and awareness for the cause.
While some people see these actions as unnecessary and counter-productive, others argue that the climate crisis is at breaking point and that it’s now time for invasive action.