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A Vandal Dressed as an Old Lady Almost Pulled Off the ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ of Art Vandalism

We at RELEVANT do not condone vandalism. That should go without saying, but it’s important to put it in writing here at the top, because we’re about to write about art vandalism and while we definitely can’t support what happened, it’s hard not to admire the moxie involved.

Our story takes place at the Louvre where, according to the New York Times and on-the-scene social media posts, a man dressed up as an elderly woman to get close to the ripest plumb in the world of art: the Mona Lisa itself. Once there, he “jumps out of a wheelchair” and started banging on the bulletproof glass protecting da Vinci’s masterpiece. He then evidently smeared some sort of pastry or cake on the glass before security brought him down.

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As the vandal was hauled away by Paris police, he suggested the attack was inspired by the climate crisis. “There are people who are destroying the Earth,” he said in French. “All artists, think about the Earth. That’s why I did this. Think of the planet.” The vandal is being held in psychiatric care.

The Mona Lisa has been vandalized before. Someone managed to throw acid on it in 1956 and a rock was thrown at it later. In 2009, a woman threw her teacup at the painting but, by this time, she’d been encased in bullet proof glass. You don’t get to be over 500 years old without picking up a few tricks about how to stay safe out there.

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