France charges artist over MeToo graffiti on notorious painting

French authorities have charged the prominent French-Luxembourgish performance artist Deborah de Robertis over the spraying of the words "MeToo" on five artworks including a famous 19th-century painting of a woman's vulva, a prosecutor said Monday.

De Robertis had claimed being behind the stunt in early May that targeted "The Origin of the World" by French artist Gustave Courbet, seen as the most explicit painting in 19th-century Western art.

Usually held at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, it was being shown on loan at an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in the eastern city of Metz in the Moselle region.

She was charged on May 29 for causing deliberate damage to cultural assets, regional prosecutor Yves Badorc told AFP. De Robertis was also charged with theft over the seizure of an embroidery work by French artist Annette Messager.

De Robertis said at the time she had organised the action, carried out by two other people, as part of a performance titled: "You Don't Separate the Woman from the Artist".

They sprayed the slogan MeToo on the works, using the viral slogan of women denouncing male sexual aggression in film and other cultural industries. "The Origin of the World" painting is kept behind a glass pane.


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