Environmental Protesters’ Foolish Stunt Met with Twitter Ridicule and Memes
In a bizarre and audacious act of protest, two environmental activists shocked visitors at the Louvre in Paris by throwing soup at the iconic Mona Lisa. The activists, affiliated with the environmental group Riposte Alimentaire (Food Response), claimed to be advocating for “healthy and sustainable food.” However, their unconventional demonstration quickly turned into a spectacle and became the subject of mockery on social media.
The 16th-century masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, thankfully encased in bulletproof glass since a 1956 incident, remained unharmed. Gallery-goers witnessed the activists hurling yellow-colored soup at the painting before climbing under the barrier, standing beside the splattered artwork, and saluting the scene with raised right hands.
Proclaiming slogans such as “Art or the right to healthy and sustainable food?” the protesters criticized perceived issues in the farming system, arguing that farmers are suffering. Louvre staff swiftly responded by erecting black cloth screens around the painting and the activists, though the attempt to block the view proved insufficient. Paris police later confirmed the arrest of the two individuals involved in the disruptive incident.
This attack is part of a series of similar actions by environmental groups, coinciding with ongoing protests by French farmers. Riposte Alimentaire is associated with the A22 umbrella movement, which includes the Just Stop Oil initiative.
The activists’ ability to smuggle soup into the Louvre raises questions about gallery security measures. Previous art-related assaults include a mashed potato attack on Claude Monet’s Les Meules in Germany in 2022 and a tomato soup incident on Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers in London by Just Stop Oil.
The Mona Lisa, known for unconventional protests, was last targeted in May 2022 when a man threw a custard pie, claiming neglect of environmental issues by artists. The incident prompted the upgrade of the glass to bulletproof in 2005, following multiple disruptions, including a 2009 episode where a woman threw an empty teacup, causing minor scratches.