The Louvre Faced a Mona Lisa Bomb Threat This Month

No devices were found at the museum

The Louvre
The Louvre has had an unsettling month so far.
Andy Soloman/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Earlier this year, the Mona Lisa was targeted with soup as part of a climate protest. As disruptions go, it was eminently noticeable but not damaging; the painting in question is kept behind a protective covering in anticipation of moments like that. Unsettlingly, this was not the biggest threat to Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece this year. As ARTnews reports, the Louvre had to contend with a bomb threat targeting the painting in mid-March.

Building on reporting in Le Figaro, ARTnews‘ Tessa Solomon writes that the museum learned of the threat via a message sent through its website. The message in question was especially stark in its brutality: “We are committed to blowing up the Mona Lisa and many other masterpieces. Just a warning: 100 kg of C4 does a lot of damage.”

The museum contacted law enforcement, who inspected the premises and found no sign of any actual explosive devices. This leads to plenty of other questions — including whether there actually was a plot targeting the Mona Lisa or if this was a hoax from someone with an axe to grind and a working internet connection.

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As ARTnews pointed out, both the Louvre and Versailles were also the subject of bomb threats made in October of 2023. At the time, both buildings were evacuated and searched; law enforcement found no explosives then, either. Meanwhile, across the English Channel, authorities in the United Kingdom are debating a law that would increase security requirements for public spaces based on their size.

Handling security for a public institution seems nerve-wracking at the best of times. This news from Paris suggests that those tasked with keeping the Louvre and its visitors safe have a lot to consider in the coming months.

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