Louvre Receives Bomb Threat Against ‘Mona Lisa’ and Other Masterpieces

The message came in through the museum’s online contact form on March 17

Mona Lisa at the Louvre
The Louvre received a bomb threat targeting valuable paintings, including the Mona Lisa, earlier this month. Marc Piasecki / Getty Images

The Louvre museum in Paris received a written note from someone threatening to bomb the Mona Lisa and other valuable works of art, according to Le Figaro’s Margaux d’Adhémar.

The threat was written in English and sent through the museum’s online contact form at 3:47 a.m. on March 17. It read: “We are committed to blowing up the Mona Lisa and many other masterpieces.”

After reading the note, Louvre officials requested a security agent from France’s Ministry of Culture to conduct a thorough sweep of the museum. Fortunately, the agent did not find anything suspicious during the search.

Le Figaro did not report any information on the perpetrator’s identity. The threat was signed “Founding Fathers of the Confederation,” which typically “refers to the 36 men that attended multiple conferences in 1860 that united colonies of British North America to become Canada,” per Artnet’s Jo Lawson-Tancred.

The Louvre is one of the most well-known—and most visited—museums in the world. After welcoming 9.6 million visitors in 2019, the museum temporarily shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, attendance numbers have been steadily recovering, with 7.8 million visitors in 2022 and 8.9 million in 2023.

Due to its high profile, the museum has faced a number of security threats over the years.

In 2017, guards shot a man carrying a machete who tried to enter the museum. In October, the Louvre and the Versailles Palace were both evacuated after receiving bomb threats. Searches of the sites came up empty, and both were reopened soon after the incident.

The Louvre’s most famous work, the Mona Lisa, has also been the target of several climate change protests. In 2022, a man dressed as an elderly woman threw cake onto the artwork; earlier this year, activists covered it in pumpkin-colored soup.

While these incidents made headlines, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece was unharmed, as it is protected by bulletproof glass. The artwork has been behind glass since a visitor attempted to damage it in the 1950s. Over the years, the museum has replaced the coverings as new glass technologies have become available.   

“The safety of the museum and our visitors is priority number one,” says a spokesperson for the Louvre, as reported by Artnet. “We have high standards in this area. This type of alert is handled according to a very precise protocol, which we do not wish to share for reasons of confidentiality.”

According to Artnet, investigations into the threatening message are currently ongoing.

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