France's famous 'Origin of the World' painting sprayed with graffiti

Two women Monday sprayed the words "MeToo" on a 19th-century painting of a woman's vagina by French artist Gustave Courbet in a stunt by a performance artist, a museum and the artist said.

"The Origin of the World", a nude painted from 1866, was protected by a "glass pane" and the police were on site to assess the damage, the Centre Pompidou in the northeastern city of Metz told AFP.

The work had been on loan to the Centre Pompidou-Metz from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris as part of an exhibition centred on French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, who once owned the painting.

Metz prosecutor Yves Badorc said two women born in 1986 and 1993 had been arrested after five works in total, including Courbet's nude, had been sprayed with the words "MeToo".

A third person -- who has not been detained -- is believed to have stolen another artwork, he said.

The piece -- red embroidery on white material by French artist Annette Messager -- is called "I Think Therefore I Suck".

French-Luxembourgish performance artist Deborah de Robertis told AFP she had organised the spray painting in red, carried out by two other people, as part of a performance titled: "You Don't Separate the Woman from the Artist".

De Robertis said they had also targeted another work by Austrian artist Valie Export.

She said the embroidery work had been taken as "reappropriation".

De Robertis already had work on display at the venue -- a photograph of a 2014 performance at the Musee d'Orsay in which she posed showing her vagina underneath Courbet's painting.

'Attack on culture'


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