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Woman Throws Mug at Mona Lisa

A Russian visitor to the Louvre museum in Paris, frustrated at not having been granted French nationality, hurled a ceramic mug at the Mona Lisa in an attack on Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece on August 2, The Guardian’s Angelique Chrisafis reports.

The unnamed woman brought an English-made mug in to the museum on the first Sunday of the month, when admission was free. She hurled it at the painting and it shattered against the protective bulletproof glass, leaving the work undamaged. “The visitor was immediately apprehended by museum guards, and she gave herself up willingly,” said David Madec, a Louvre spokesman.

“Staff cleared up the broken pieces of the mug, but there was no more than a moment's disruption and the room wasn't closed. There was no damage to the painting.” The woman, described as “visibly upset,” later told police she was frustrated that she had not been granted French citizenship. She underwent psychiatric testing and was released. The Louvre filed a legal complaint as a matter of course because police were called to intervene.

As Henry Samuel notes in The Telegraph, the last attack on a work of art at the Louvre was in 1998, when a mathematics professor suddenly attacked a statue of the Roman philosopher Seneca with a hammer. The Mona Lisa is the only painting ever to have been stolen from the Louvre, in 1911, and then recovered. In 1956, it was damaged when a vandal threw acid over it while it was on display at a museum in Montauban, in France. The same year, a Bolivian man threw a rock at the painting, damaging paintwork below the Mona Lisa's left elbow. The painting belongs to the French state.

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