Environmental activists threw soup onto the Mona Lisa last week, continuing a trend of defacing major artwork in the name of changing food policies. Due to a protective cover, the painting was not harmed, but the incident received international attention.
The incident last week occurred at Paris’ Louvre Museum. Video from the event shows two women throwing food onto the protective covering of the painting.
“What’s the most important thing?” aid the activists. “Art, or right to a healthy and sustainable food?”
“Our farming system is sick. Our farmers are dying at work,” one of the women said.
The two women were photographed next to the soup-stained painting prior to their arrest. The incident occurred during ongoing French protests advocating changes to the country’s agriculture.
The organization the women reportedly supported called upon the French government to take further action to combat climate change while also increasing wages for farmers. There have been significant protests across the country, including farmers utilizing tractors to block off roads.
Other protesters dumped food waste in front of government buildings. The French government has since announced the simplification of some regulations and to eventually end a diesel tax for farm vehicles.
Anti-fossil-fuel activists trying to vandalize the Mona Lisa but getting thwarted by glass sold from a company owned by Charles Koch is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. The irony here is just perfect. pic.twitter.com/XB4iT1pI1H
— Robert Sterling (@RobertMSterling) January 30, 2024
This is not the first time that activists have defaced art to try and spread their message.
In 2022, a man threw a cake at the Mona Lisa while dressed as an elderly woman in a wheelchair. The alleged assailant threw the cake against the protective cover, leaving it covered in whipped cream.
The wheelchair disguise allowed the man to get closer to the painting than other visitors.
The protester said that his actions were done in response to “people who are destroying the Earth.” He called upon artists to “think about the Earth. That’s why I did this. Think of the planet.”
Other protests included throwing soup at a Van Gogh painting. In another incident, protesters in Germany glued their hands to an airport runway to prevent traffic while protesting climate issues.