A protester who attempted to vandalize Leonardo da Vinci’s "Mona Lisa" with cake managed to get up close and personal with the painting by dressing as an older woman and using a wheelchair.
In videos posted on social media that captured the aftermath, an individual can be seen being escorted out of the building dressed in all white, with a wig and baseball cap on, along with an empty wheelchair.
"Think about the Earth. There are people who are in the process of destroying the Earth. Think about them!" the man told bystanders in French, suggesting that the stunt was motivated by climate activism. "Artists should think about the Earth! All artists think about the Earth. That's why I did it."
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for the museum confirmed that the incident took place on Sunday after the museum had applied what it calls its “usual procedures” for people with disabilities.
As they believed the perpetrator had reduced mobility, he was allowed to be closer to the artwork.
According to reporting in Reuters, the suspected climate activist jumped out of the wheelchair and tried to smash the glass protecting the famed painting.
After the failed attempt, he then smeared cake on the painting’s covering and allegedly threw roses on the ground before being seized by security guards.
“This individual threw on the window of the Mona Lisa, a pastry that he had hidden in his personal effects,” said the statement, which also clarified that the painting itself suffered no damage.
The museum said the perpetrator was handed over to the police and that it had filed a complaint against him.
“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,” the spokesperson added.