By Miriam Kuepper
20:07 February 11, 2024, updated 20:21 February 11, 2024
Climate activists threw soup at a Monet painting in a French museum yesterday after pulling a similar stunt on the Mona Lisa last month.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon, France’s third largest city, said in a statement that the attack on Claude Monet’s ‘Le Printemps’ (Spring) took place at 3:30 p.m. local time on Saturday.
The 1872 painting was protected by glass, but will still undergo careful inspection and restoration, the museum said. The museum said it would file a vandalism complaint, adding that two activists were arrested.
Riposte Alimentaire (‘Food Counterattack’) claimed responsibility for the attack in a post on
The same group, which calls for a sustainable supply of healthy food for all, also claimed responsibility for the January soup attack on the Louvre museum’s Mona Lisa painting, which was also behind glass.
Activists Ilona and Sophie asked passers-by at the museum after yesterday’s soup attack: ‘This spring will be the only one we have left if we don’t react. What will our future artists paint? What will we dream about if there is no longer spring?
“We love art,” says the movement in X, “but future artists will have nothing to paint on a burning planet.”
In a post about the Monet splashing the We will respond with decisive actions.”
Riposte Alimentaire activists Sasha, 24, and Marie-Juliette, 63, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Mona Lisa on January 28 and asked the stunned crowd after throwing the soup: “What is more important? “. Art or right to healthy and sustainable food?
The group later said the soup launch marked the “beginning of a civil resistance campaign with the clear demand… for social security of sustainable food.”
Riposte Alimentaire calls itself a “French civil resistance movement that aims to drive radical social change for the environment and society.”
According to its website, Riposte Alimentaire calls on the French government to ensure food security in the country, including the distribution of “food cards” worth 150 euros “per month per person to purchase approved food products.”
The website also explains that the group is a branch of a larger climate activist collective called ‘Last Renewal’, which is part of a campaign in which protesters have attacked historical monuments, works of art and travelers across Europe.
The Riposte Alimentaire website states that the group “was born as a result of the Last Renewal campaign, which in 2022 and 2023 promoted actions throughout France to demand an energy renovation plan for buildings.”
“Strengthened by a community of civil resistance that won a first victory, the Last Renewal campaign was transformed to address an even more ambitious and systemic issue: social security for sustainable food,” he adds.
But the page also explains that Riposte Alimentaire and Last Generation are part of an even larger collective of activists, who belong to the ‘A22’ network.
“France and 11 other countries around the world are coordinating their efforts to take, at home, the first urgent and essential step to truly implement the necessary transformation of our societies,” the website says, before listing its other groups.
Activists under the umbrella of the A22 have poured black dye into Rome’s iconic Trevi Fountain as they call for an end to fossil fuels. Others have dyed Venice’s famous canals green.
Last Generation protesters also blocked busy roads during rush hour in some of Europe’s busiest cities, forcing locals to push them off the road.
A22 also includes Just Stop Oil, a British group that has carried out similar stunts in the UK, much to the chagrin of politicians and the public.
In October 2022, two activists from the Just Stop Oil group made headlines when they spilled tomato soup on the glass protecting Dutch master Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ at the National Gallery in London.
At the time they complained that art lovers were more concerned about the paintings than the planet.
The website also lists groups in Sweden, the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Italy, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada and Austria.
In its defense of the Mona Lisa stunt, Riposte Alimentaire referred to a survey conducted last year among 996 people by the polling group Ipsos that found that one in three French people could not always afford enough healthy food for three meals a day. .
Member Till Van Elst said the group wanted the state to allow people to buy select foods at reduced prices through a specialized social security card. Under this plan, democratic assemblies would choose which foods would be subsidized.
“We want citizens to really be able to decide what they have on their plate,” he told AFP.
Culture Minister Rachida Dati led criticism over the soup attack.
‘The Mona Lisa, as our heritage, belongs to future generations. No cause can justify attacking him,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Italy, in particular, has suffered several hacks, prompting the country to enact a law that would impose fines of up to €50,000 on activists for any form of protest.
Last year, climate activists dove into the waters of Rome’s world-famous Trevi Fountain and poured a black liquid to symbolize oil.
“Our country is dying,” they shouted after unfurling a banner, while tourists visiting the monument took photos, cheered and booed.
While the group said the liquid was carbon-based and would not harm the fountain, Rome’s mayor said the city would still have to throw away the 300,000 liters of water circulating through the Trevi Fountain and replace it.
The group also threw paint at Milan’s famous La Scala opera house, sprayed the glass protecting iconic paintings and sprayed the Italian Senate with orange paint.
Its members have also blocked traffic, angering motorists.
Several videos have shown activists sitting in the middle of busy roads, causing long traffic jams during morning and afternoon rush hours.
This has invariably led to the public taking matters into their own hands, tearing banners from activists’ hands and dragging them off the road.
In October, angry drivers repeatedly kicked and dragged climate protesters blocking traffic in Milan.
About twenty ‘Last Generation’ activists blocked a road, angering several drivers who were stuck in traffic.
Footage showed several activists sitting at a multi-lane highway crossing point at a busy intersection, causing chaos among drivers during rush hour by joining hands and holding an orange climate emergency banner.
Several drivers, furious at the protesters for blocking their path, got out of their cars and joined forces to run them off the road in shocking scenes captured on video.
Other climate activist groups have also been active in Italy.
In December, Extinction Rebellion protesters used dye to turn Venice’s famous Grand Canal green, protesting what they said at the time was a lack of progress at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.
Activists from the group were seen hanging from the Rialto Bridge over the canal with the help of helmets and climbing ropes, while displaying a banner that read: “COP28: While the government talks, we hang by a thread.”
And in 2022, Italian eco-fanatics glued their hands to Botticelli’s Primavera masterpiece at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
That same year, 11 activists threw flour on a car painted by Andy Warhol that was on display at the Fabbrica del Vapore art center in Milan.