How much is Mona Lisa worth? Price of painting, and why is it so famous - as man throws cake at it in Louvre

Onlookers were shocked after a visitor to the Louvre was seen throwing cake at the Leonardo da Vinci painting

<p>A man dressed as an elderly woman shocked visitors to the Louvre after smearing cake on the Mona Lisa. (Credit: PA)</p>

A man dressed as an elderly woman shocked visitors to the Louvre after smearing cake on the Mona Lisa. (Credit: PA)

A man seemingly disguised as an old woman threw a piece of cake at the glass protecting the famed Mona Lisa painting.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said on Monday that the man, 36, was detained following Sunday’s incident at the Louvre Museum and sent to a police psychiatric unit. An investigation has been opened into the damage of cultural artefacts.

It is not the first time the Leonardo da Vinci portrait has been targeted.

Here’s everything you need to know about it.

A man dressed as an elderly woman shocked visitors to the Louvre after smearing cake on the Mona Lisa. (Credit: PA)

What happened to the Mona Lisa - and who threw cake at it?

Videos posted on social media appear to show a young man in a wig and lipstick who had arrived in a wheelchair. The man, whose identity was unknown, was also seen throwing roses in the museum gallery.

The cake attack left a smear on the glass, but the famous work by Leonardo da Vinci was unharmed.

Security guards were filmed escorting the wig-wearing man away as he called out to the surprised visitors in the gallery: “Think of the Earth. There are people who are destroying the Earth. Think about it. Artists tell you: think of the Earth. That’s why I did this.”

Guards were then filmed cleaning the cake from the glass. A Louvre statement confirmed the attack on the artwork involving a “patisserie”.

The painting remained unharmed following the incident, with the icing cleaned off by security.

The man spread cake icing on the protective glass surface of the Mona Lisa. (Credit: PA)

Has the Mona Lisa ever been vandalised?

The cake incident is not the first time the Mona Lisa has been targeted.

In 1956, significant damage was inflicted on arguably the world’s most-famous artwork, after acid was thrown on it while it was being displayed at the Montauban Museum in France. Later that same year, the painting was chipped after a rock was thrown at it.

Shortly after, the Mona Lisa was placed behind bulletproof glass. However, it didn’t stop some vandals trying to damage the artwork.

In 1974, a woman spray painted over the top of the glass overing.

In 2009, the painting hit the headlines again after a woman was seen throwing a ceramic mug at the painting.

The painting remained unharmed, although the mug, which had been bought at gift shop, was broken.

Where is the Mona Lisa kept?

The Mona Lisa has been housed permanentely in The Louvre Museum in Paris since 1804.

The artwork takes pride of place in Paris’ most famous museum, but it has been on tour around the world before.

The last time it was on tour was in 1974, where it was displayed in Tokyo and Moscow. It was also exhibited in Cairo in 1963, and in New York and Washington D.C in 1963.

Previously, it was a part of the French royal collection, but it was moved into public ownership following in French revolution.

How much is the Mona Lisa Worth?

The Mona Lisa is known as one of the world’s most valuable paintings.

It has been placed behind bulletproof glass to protect it while on display, while also holding a Guinness World Record for having the highest ever insurance value for a painting.

In 1962, the painting was vallued at $100million. When taking into account inflation, the painting would be worth around $900million in 2022.

Why is the Mona Lisa so famous?

As one of the most recognisable paintings in art history, the Mona Lisa is famed for the millions of visitors who come to marvel at the portrait.

The realistic image was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci and is believed to have been created between 1503 and 1506. However, some have argued that Da Vinci worked on the portrait as late as 1517.

The woman in the portrait is believed to be Lisa Gherardini, an Italian noblewoman.

The universal appeal of the image is believed to be in the optical illusion of the smile - the expression on Lisa’s face is so famous that the painting is often referred to as the ‘Mona Lisa Smile’.

The Mona Lisa is throught to be the most visited artwork in the world, with almost 10 million people coming to see it in person each year.