French Protesters Throw Soup at Monet Painting in Lyon

Just two weeks after souping the protective glass covering the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, Riposte Alimentaire (“Food Counterattack”) took to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon for another demonstration targeting Claude Monet’s “Le Printemps” (1880) on Saturday, February 10. At around 3:30pm local time, two young protesters splashed cans of chunky soup on the glass and decorative frame of the French Impressionist’s springtime composition, stressing the urgency of the climate situation with a particular focus on the future of food access and agricultural labor.

“This spring will be the only one we have left if we don’t react,” the two demonstrators, identified as Ilona and Sophie, said in unison after splashing the painting. “What will our future artists paint? What will we dream of if there is no more spring?”

The Lyon museum did not immediately respond to Hyperallergic‘s request for comment, but a spokesperson informed French media outlet Le Monde that it would file a complaint for vandalism and that the two demonstrators were arrested onsite. Hyperallergic has contacted Lyon police for confirmation of the arrests.

Ilona, 20, provided a video statement about her involvement with the action on Riposte Alimentaire’s X account. “As a student, I would like to not have to miss class to participate in actions, but for me it is essential to act — to not close our eyes in the face of the current situation, in the face of government inaction,” she said.

Lyon’s Mayor Grégory Doucet acknowledged the demonstration on X, lamenting the group’s tactics though noting that its “anxiety is legitimate” in the face of a climate emergency. “We respond to it with resolute action,” Doucet said.

It’s not the first time climate protesters have thrown food at a Monet painting: In October 2022, two demonstrators affiliated with the German climate awareness group Letzte Generation splattered Monet’s “Grainstacks” (1890) with runny mashed potatoes before gluing their hands beneath the painting’s display at the Barberini Museum in Potsdam.

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