Artist Deborah de Robertis was arrested during her performance beneath the statue of the Virgin May at Lourdes, a Catholic shrine. She was standing naked with a blue veil on her head

Deborah de Robertis, The Origin of Life, 2018. Source: courtesy of the artist/

Onlookers and pilgrims interfered with the performance, trying to cover up the artist’s exposed body parts. They called the police. Police officers arrested the artist after threatening to commit her to a psychiatric ward. Deborah de Robertis was charged with sexual exhibitionism. A trial date is set for May 19, 2019, according to

The performance The Origin of Life is a reference to Gustave Courbet’s 1866 painting The Origin of the World, which
wasn’t in public view for 120 years for depicting female genitals. The work is now displayed at Musée d'Orsay, where the artist also staged a performance exposing her genitals in 2014. She held another nude performance at the same museum in 2016 and got arrested.

De Robertis said in an interview with "In the monotheistic religions, Mary is the female model that is most represented, the most known and therefore the most exploited. The figure of Mary in Lourdes is in the end just as exploited as the face of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. It is the goose that lays the golden eggs, it drives the economy of the Marian city. Like the Mona Lisa, her head can be found on mugs, t-shirts and keyrings. Like the female genitalia of the Origin of the World, which attracts tourists and fills the coffers of the Musée d’Orsay, the representation of Mary attracts pilgrims from all over the world."

Below is a video of the artist’s performance and arrest.

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