A performance artist has been put on trial for exhibitionism after she exposed her genitals in front of the Mona Lisa.
On Sunday 24 September, Deborah de Robertis bared her genitals in front of the Leonardo Da Vinci painting at The Louvre. Shouting "Mona Lisa, my pussy, my copyright", she ruffled the feathers of a few onlookers, including security staff.
De Robertis was arrested and kept in custody for two days. She'll face trial on 18 October for exhibitionism and assault – she also bit one of the guards.
She defended her method: "The goal was not to exhibit my genitals," the Luxembourger told AFP, "but to copy a famous photograph by Valie Export." Export was an artist in the 1970s, noted for her provocative performances.
"My message is to question the place of women artists in the history of art. That's why it's necessary to do my performances in museums."
De Robertis' lawyer finds the legal approach scandalous: "It's not exhibitionism if there is no wish to assault someone sexually, which is completely contrary to the work of this performance artist."
It's not the first time de Robertis has faced trial for exhibitionism.
Back in April, she had pulled the same stunt while France 2 – French national TV – filmed on. Video showed security staff struggling to cover her up as dozens of tourists captured the moment on their phones. It took the Louvre security jst 30 seconds to snatch her away from the podium.
She has been arrested several times for indecent exposure. In February 2017, she was acquitted after a judge ruled similar stunts in other Parisian museums were artistic performances.
De Robertis made a name for herself back in 2014 with a similar stunt. That time, she exposed her vagina in front of the Gustave Courbet painting, The Origin of the World, at the Musee du Quai d'Orsay.
The Origin of the world is a close-up painting of a woman's vagina.
On 27 September, it was reported that Leonardo Da Vinci could have drawn a nude version of the Mona Lisa. The Louvre is currently analysing a charcoal drawing, known as the Mona Vanna. The drawing strikes by its stunning resemblance to the iconic painting. The hands are almost identical, and the lips bare the same mysterious grin.