Paris: Protesters Splatter Soup On Glass Covering Da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’

This image grab taken from AFPTV footage shows two environmental activists from the collective dubbed “Riposte Alimentaire” (Food Retaliation) hurling soup at Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” (La Joconde) painting, at the Louvre museum in Paris, on January 28, 2024. Two protesters on January 28, 2024 hurled soup at the bullet-proof glass protecting Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” in Paris, demanding the right to “healthy and sustainable food”, an AFP journalist said. It is the latest attack on the masterpiece in the French capital’s Louvre museum, after someone threw a custard pie at it in May 2022, but it’s thick glass casing ensured it came to no harm. (Photo by David CANTINIAUX / AFPTV / AFP) (Photo by DAVID CANTINIAUX/AFPTV/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
12:05 PM – Monday, January 29, 2024

Videos circulating on social media this weekend show two activists hurling canned soup at the well-known “Mona Lisa” painting in Paris, France. Fortunately, the artwork was shielded from being damaged by a glass shield covering it.


On Sunday, two female climate activists splattered the iconic “Mona Lisa” painting with canned soup at the Louvre Museum.

“The Mona Lisa has been behind glass since the 1950s, when a visitor poured acid on it. In 2019, the museum installed glass of what it said was superior transparency,” according to the New York Times.

Riposte Alimentaire, an environmentalist organization, which is also known globally as “Food Response,” the English translation of the name, announced that the two activists were involved in its current campaign and they took responsibility for the attempted vandalization and demonstration.

The “Mona Lisa,” the notable painting by Leonardo da Vinci that is housed in the Louvre museum, is arguably the most well-known piece of art in existence. The artwork draws millions of visitors every year who line up to view, take pictures of, or pose with it.

The protesters opened the cans of soup and splattered it all over the Leonardo da Vinci painting at around 10 a.m. local time. One video posted by Riposte Alimentaire showed the splashes of orange soup on the glass cover.

The two activists, who the organization identified as Sasha, 24, and Marie-Juliette, 63, went behind the protective wooden railing in front of the painting, stood next to each other, and demanded for “the integration of food into the general social security system.”

In one video, a protester is heard saying, “What is more important: art or the right to a healthy and sustainable diet?”

Employees at the Louvre were also seen moving black screens between visitors and the activists. The “Salle des Etats” room, which holds the Mona Lisa, was then evacuated but has subsequently reopened since the incident occurred.

“Two activists from the environmental movement ‘Riposte Alimentaire’ sprayed pumpkin soup on the armored glass protecting the Mona Lisa, this Sunday, January 28, 2024, around 10 a.m. (4 a.m. ET),” a statement from the museum said. “The Louvre’s security staff immediately intervened.”

Additionally, Riposte Alimentaire made a statement on X (Twitter) regarding the protest.

“In France, one in three people skip meals due to lack of means,” Riposte Alimentaire said. “At the same time, 20% of the food produced is thrown away. Our model stigmatizes the most precarious and does not respect our fundamental right to food,” the English-translated tweet read.

The organization claimed that the agricultural system is flawed and cited farmer suicides as evidence. French farmers are currently demanding better wages and living conditions from the government by staging statewide protests, closing roads, and threatening to converge on the capital.

According to its website, Riposte Alimentaire is known for controversial climate protests. The group is involved in the A22 Network, which is a network consisting of several activist organizations, including Just Stop Oil, a group responsible for a similar incident on Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in London back in 2022.

“Agriculture is responsible for 21% of national greenhouse gas emissions and contributes greatly to the deterioration of our biodiversity and the impoverishment of soils, due to the massive use of inputs,” the group said.

French Culture Minister Rachida Dati denounced the Louvre protest in a post on X (Twitter). 

“The Mona Lisa, like our heritage, belongs to future generations,” Dati said. “No cause can justify it being targeted! I extend all my support to the staff of @museeLouvre.”

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