"The Mona Lisa" in tart, the Louvre files a complaint

“The Mona Lisa” in tart, the Louvre files a complaint

“Think of the Earth (…). There are people who are destroying the Earth, think about it. All artists, think of the Earth. That’s why I did this. Think about the planet. » This is what claimed the man who, Sunday, May 29, threw a pastry on The Mona Lisa, at the Louvre, in Paris.

No photos or video captured the incident itself, but the Museum explained Monday how the incident unfolded:

“A visitor simulated a handicap situation to use a wheelchair and approach the work installed in a secure display case. The Louvre has applied its usual procedures for people with reduced mobility, allowing them to admire this major work of the Louvre. Installed near the work, this individual threw on the window of the Mona Lisa, a pastry that he had hidden in his personal effects. This roll had no effect on the painting, which suffered no damage. The individual was immediately seized and evacuated by the reception and surveillance agents then handed over to the police, who came to the scene. The Louvre Museum filed a complaint. »

On the other hand, visitors present that day broadcast videos of the seconds following the “scaling”. Those of “Lukeee”, an influencer – in the making, with 363 followers on Twitter – from Denver, Colorado, have, for example, toured the world, totaling more than 1.6 million views (cumulative).

The 36-year-old man who threw the cake was admitted to the psychiatric infirmary of the police headquarters and an investigation was opened for “attempted degradation of cultural property”, we learned , Monday, with the Paris prosecutor’s office. For her part, Mona Lisa waited, stoically, for her to be washed and resumed her activities: the contemplation of her audience.

An uninsured painting

At the rate of 30,000 visitors per day, this type of incident had to happen eventually, again to the most famous painting in the world. This scaling is, in fact, not his first misadventure: in 1911, Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian glazier who took part in the work of placing the most important works of the Museum under glass, in order to protect them from vandals. He kept it for two years in his room, before offering it to a Florentine antique dealer. She returned to the Louvre in 1914.

Read also: The flight of the Mona Lisa

She went through the two world wars without incident – ​​the first in Bordeaux then Toulouse, the second in Chambord, Amboise, Loc-Dieu, Montauban, Chambord, Montal en Quercy, in the Lot and the Causses. Then new measures are taken, after, on December 30, 1956, Ugo Ungaza Villegas, a Bolivian subject to an expulsion order, throws a stone towards the painting and breaks the ice which protected the portrait of Lisa Gherardini . Shards of glass damaged his left elbow.

In 1974, during Mona Lisa’s visit to Japan, a woman threw red paint on her. Then in August 2009, a Russian visitor was arrested after throwing a teacup at the painting. The projectile does not resist the armored window which is only very slightly scratched.

Because, since 2005, Mona Lisa quiet days pass behind armored glass, protected by a special box where humidity and temperature are controlled. Protection all the more necessary as the canvas is not insured. In 1962, before the voyage of Mona Lisa in Washington and then New York, The world wrote: “the painting is practically priceless, the premium would have been exorbitant anyway and, in the event of theft, the fact that it is not insured eliminates any possibility of blackmail with the companies”. In 2020, the magazine fine arts explained that, “Unlike private museums, the state does not pay for insurance. The cause ? Too many works, and of too high a value. No one would have the means to insure priceless paintings. (…) All that remains is to invest in security. »

The world

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