A new attack against the “Mona Lisa” took by surprise visitors at the Louvre Museum late May.
A man who simulated a disability took advantage of the museum’s usual procedures for people using wheelchairs and smeared frosting all over the painting protective glass, which is considered the most famous artwork in history.
“This individual threw a pastry he had hidden in his personal belongings at the Mona Lisa’s glass case. This act had no effect on the painting, which was not damaged in any way,” a Louvre spokesperson said.
The man, 36, was arrested and taken to a psychiatric evaluation. An investigation has been opened by the prosecutor for “the attempt of damaging a cultural property.”
In a video published by a museum-goer on Twitter, the man is heard saying in French, “Think of planet Earth, there are people destroying it.”
Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece draws millions of visitors each year who line up to pose with the 2.5 feet tall and under 2 feet wide artwork.
The portrait was stolen in 1911 by a Louvre employee. For more than two years it was missing until someone tried to sell the painting to an Italian art dealer, who informed authorities.
The “Mona Lisa” also suffered both an acid attack and a rock thrown in the 1950s, forcing the museum to add bulletproof glass.
Again in 1974, during an exhibit at the Tokyo National Museum, a woman painted the protective glass as a protest against the museum.
The extra protection was proven to be effective in 2009, when a visitor threw a ceramic cup at the 16th-century painting, smashing the glass.
Museums, galleries and collectors have been dealing with vandalism of artworks for decades, if not for centuries.