Mona Lisa: Protesters throw soup at da Vinci painting

Environmental protesters have thrown soup at the glass-protected Mona Lisa in France, calling for the right to “healthy and sustainable food”.

The 16th-century painting by Leonardo da Vinci is one of the world’s most famous artworks and is held at the Louvre in central Paris.

The Louvre said the work was behind protective glass and was not damaged.

Video shows two female protesters wearing T-shirts that read “food counterattack” throwing the liquid.

They then stand in front of the painting, saying: “What is more important? Art or the right to healthy and sustainable food?

“Your agricultural system is sick. Our farmers are dying at work,” they add.

Museum security is then seen putting black screens in front of them before the room is evacuated.

A group called Riposte Alimentaire (Food Counterattack) claimed responsibility for the stunt.

In a statement posted to X, formerly Twitter, it said the protest was part of efforts to integrate “food into the general social security system”.

It said that the current food model “stigmatises the most precarious and does not respect our fundamental right to food”.

The group called for a food card worth €150 (£128) to be given to citizens each month to be used on food.

The Louvre said that members of Riposte Alimentaire, which it described as an environmental movement, sprayed pumpkin soup on the painting at around 10:00 local time (09:00 GMT), and that there was no damage.

It said the Salle des Etats, where the work is displayed, was evacuated, and reopened to visitors at 11:30 after cleaning was carried out.

“The museum will lodge a complaint,” it added.

Rachida Dati, France’s Minister for Culture, said “no cause” could justify the Mona Lisa being targeted.

“Like our heritage [the painting] belongs to future generations,” she said on X.

The French capital has seen protests by farmers in recent days, calling for an end to rising fuel costs and for regulations to be simplified – on Friday they blocked key roads in and out of Paris.

The Mona Lisa has been behind safety glass since the early 1950s, when it was damaged by a visitor who poured acid on it.

In 2019, the museum said it had installed a more transparent form of bulletproof glass to protect it.

In 2022, an activist threw cake at the painting, urging people to “think of the Earth”.

The painting was stolen from the Louvre in 1911, causing an international sensation. Vincenzo Peruggia, an employee of the world’s most visited museum, hid in a cupboard overnight to take the painting.

It was recovered two years later when he tried to sell it to an antique dealer in Florence, Italy.

Source: BBC

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