This is the moment a man was dragged away by security guards after throwing a custard pie at the Mona Lisa painting.
Visitors to the Louvre art gallery in Paris were left stunned by the incident which happened moments before closing time on Sunday night.
Witnesses said a man, who was wearing a wig and dressed as a woman, was rolling past Leonardo da Vinci’s famous masterpiece in a wheelchair before suddenly leaping to his feet and launching a pie at the canvas.
The perpetrator then threw a bouquet of roses into the air and was tackled to the ground by Louvre security guards moments later.
No damage was caused to the priceless painting which is protected by a bulletproof screen.
Scores of bystanders watched on, snapping pictures of the Mona Lisa which was partially obscured from view by smears of pie crusted on the protective glass.
In a statement to MailOnline the Louvre said: ‘On Sunday, May 29, an incident occurred in the Salle des Etats where the Mona Lisa is exhibited.
‘A visitor simulated they were disabled to use a wheelchair and approach the work installed in a secure display case.
‘The Louvre has applied its usual procedures for people with reduced mobility, allowing them to admire this major work of the Louvre.
‘Once near the work this individual threw on the security glass of the Mona Lisa, a pastry that he had hidden in his personal effects.
‘This pastry had no effect on the painting, which suffered no damage.
‘The individual was immediately seized and evacuated by the reception and surveillance agents and then handed over to the police, who came to the scene.
‘The Louvre Museum filed a complaint. The museum salutes the professionalism of its agents who reacted immediately during this incident.’
Visitors to the Louvre art gallery in Paris were left stunned by the incident which happened moments before closing time at the world-famous art gallery on Sunday night
Witnesses said a man, who was wearing a wig and dressed as a woman, was rolling past Leonardo da Vinci’s famous masterpiece in a wheelchair before suddenly leaping to his feet and launching a pie at the canvas (the man is pictured being led away by security)
The man, who wore a dark black wig and lipstick, turned out to be an artist and climate change activist who said he pied the prized painting in protest.
‘Think about the Earth. People are in the process of destroying the Earth!’ he declared as he was led away by security guards.
‘Artists think about the Earth, that’s why I did this. Think of the planet!’
Officials returned to the scene moments later to wipe away the smeared dessert from the glass as stunned gallery visitors watched on.
It is not the first time the Mona Lisa has been the subject of an attack.
In 2011 a Russian woman threw a cup of tea at the painting after being refused French citizenship and the protective glass was damaged.
In 1956, da Vinci’s painting survived another attack when a vandal doused it with acid while it was on display at a museum in Montauban.
The lower portion of the painting suffered considerable damage but was ultimately restored and has since been displayed behind a protective cover.
Mona Lisa, now thought to be 519 years old, watches on from behind a bulletproof screen year-round, and is removed from her casing just once a year for experts to check her condition.
Scores of bystanders watched on, snapping pictures of the Mona Lisa which was partially obscured from view by smears of pie crusted on the protective glass
The half-length portrait was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1503, though it is believed it may have taken more than a decade to complete.
The painting depicts Italian noblewoman Lisa Gherardini, the wife of the cloth-and-silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo.
It was acquired by King Francis I of France in 1518 and remains in the possession of the French Republic.
It has been on display at the Musée du Louvre since 1797, though has at times been involved in other exhibitions for limited periods.
The painting grew in fame in 1911 after being stolen from the Louvre by a museum employee and later recovered.
The renaissance polymath’s world-renowned masterpiece is viewed by around 6 million people each year.