She did not lose her legendary smile, thanks to her protective glass case: According to testimonies on social media, “The Gioconda”, the most famous painting in the world, was attacked with a tart a la crème at the Louvre Museum in Paris, without being damaged, as she is placed behind an armored glass case.
The Louvre Museum declined to comment on the incident.
According to photos and testimonies posted by tourists on Twitter and Instagram, the incident happened on Sunday, May 29, in the afternoon. The photos show Gioconda’s glass case smeared with cream being cleaned by a member of the museum’s security staff.
A Twitter user, who stated that he was present at the incident, explained that the perpetrator of the attack was a man wearing a wig who got out of a wheelchair, hit the glass case and then threw the cake.
@lukeXC2002 has posted a video showing the man standing next to the wheelchair being escorted to the exit by the museum’s security personnel. “There are people destroying the Earth; all artists, think of the Earth. That’s why I did it. Think of the planet,” said the man, dressed in white, wearing a wig and helmet.
Other photos show the wheelchair behind the cordon that keeps visitors at a safe distance from the artwork. The attack itself has not been recorded.
This is not the first time Leonardo da Vinci’s work has been vandalized. In August 2009, a Russian woman visitor to the Louvre was arrested after throwing a cup of tea at the painting. The museum had then announced that the cup was broken on the glass case which was slightly scratched.
In December 1956, a Bolivian man threw a stone at the Gioconda, causing damage to her left arm. Following this incident, the painting was then placed behind a glass case.
Since 2005, the Gioconda is behind an armored glass case and the protective shell keeps humidity and temperature regulated.
Every year, millions of people come specifically to admire her in the world’s largest museum (10 million visitors a year before the pandemic).