A Monet Painting in Lyon Is the Latest Artwork to Get Souped

"In the face of climate emergencies, anguish is legitimate," admitted Lyon's mayor in response to the attack.

Protestors fling soup at Monet's Spring (1878) at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, France. Photo: Clarisse Gauvreau, © Risposte Alimentaire.

A painting by Claude Monet is the latest artwork to be targeted by protestors. Two activists from Riposte Alimentaire (Food Counterattack) threw soup at the artist’s work Spring (1872) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in the French city of Lyon.

“This spring will be the only one we have left if we don’t react,” the pair chanted, in reference to the painting’s title. “What will our future artists paint? What will we dream of if there is no more spring?”

The museum confirmed the attack to Artnet News and said that the room was immediately evacuated and national police arrived to the scene to arrest the two protestors. The Impressionism galleries were all closed to the public on Sunday.

The museum also said that it will be filing a complaint over the act of vandalism. It did not yet confirm whether Monet’s painting has been damaged, but said a full condition report and restoration will be carried out. The painting is protected by glass.

 

The news comes just two weeks after different members of these same group hurled pumpkin soup at the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. These kinds of protests have taken place periodically since late 2022, when climate activists flung tomato soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London.

Monet’s paintings have been in the firing line before. The Haystacks (1890) was pelted with mashed potatoes at Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany in October 2022.

Riposte Alimentaire is an environmental group specifically focused on the rising cost of food, better working conditions and rights for farmers, and a more sustainable agricultural system.

“Art is the most beautiful tribute to life,” the group wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “We love it but our future artists will have nothing left to paint on a burned planet.”

One of the protestors identified herself as Ilona, aged 20. “I decided to join civil resistance,” she said in a video posted by Riposte Alimentaire on X. “Whether for me or all future generations, we must act now, before it is too late.”

Lyon’s mayor, who is a member of France’s Green party, reportedly wrote on X that “in the face of climate emergencies, anguish is legitimate.”


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