Mona Lisa left smeared in cake but unharmed after apparent climate protest stunt targets painting

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Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was left unharmed after a man threw a piece of cake at the protective glass surrounding the famed painting in an apparent climate protest stunt at the Louvre Museum.

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The protester – a young man disguised as an old woman in a wheelchair – attacked the glass and attempted to smash it on Sunday. One witness tweeted that the man proceeded to “smear cake on the glass, and throws roses everywhere” before being tackled by security. 

A museum staffer cleans the glass protecting the Mona Lisa at the Louvre following a climate protest stunt on Sunday. (credit: @Luke_sundberg_)

A museum staffer cleans the glass protecting the Mona Lisa at the Louvre following a climate protest stunt on Sunday. (credit: @Luke_sundberg_)
(Credit: @Luke_sundberg_)

Footage shows the attacker then being escorted out by museum personnel along with the wheelchair. He can be heard saying, “Think of the Earth, people are destroying the Earth” in French as he was being walked away, indicating the incident likely had an environmentalist motive.

The man was not immediately identified.

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A Twitter video posted by another witness shows a museum staffer cleaning the glass as tourists look on and capture photos and videos of the incident with their phones.

According to Guinness World Records, the Mona Lisa has the highest insurance value for any painting in history. Although its value is incalculable, ArtNet estimates that if the painting were to go up for auction, it could fetch as much as $50 billion, as “Salvator Mundi,” another work credited to Leonardo DaVinci, sold recently for $450 million. The Mona Lisa, in addition to being a valuable artwork, also drives tourism, bringing as much as $3 billion to the French economy each year, per ArtNet.

Apart from auction and economic values, the Mona Lisa is worth about $867 million, based on a $100 million appraisal done in 1967 and accounting for inflation. 

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The Louvre told Fox News Digital in a statement that a complaint has been filed in relation to the incident. 

“The museum salutes the professionalism of its agents who reacted immediately during this incident. It also recalls that monitoring national collections is at the heart of their missions,” said the Louvre, in a statement translated from French to English. 

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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