Was Leonardo Jesus Christ? Leonardo’s ‘mind: A mystery wrapped in a riddle surrounded by an enigma

 

We all know that Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the most famous Renaissance artists, was a polymath who was capable of doing almost everything: art, math, anatomy and engineering… Sometimes his huge amount of dedications in inventions and arts just made me wonder: Is Leonardo Da Vinci invincible? How can he have such superman power, energy, passion and intelligence to accomplish all these distinctive things at the same time? I’ve recently had research on this topic and I can totally throw you an answer:

 

No, are you joking around with me? How can a painter be Jesus Christ?

 

Wait wait wait! Please do not leave my blog post after knowing this “boring” answer, because I did dig some personal secrets of this genius:

 

People since the early Renaissance period have suspected Da Vinci playing some sneaky tricks in his paintings: Last Supper is one of the most famous holy church paintings, although people have regarded this paint as a divine masterpiece, Da Vinci self claimed that he wasn’t quite finished the painting and he was never satisfied with the amended results. Why is that Da Vinci never quite satisfied with this perfect painting? Was he trying to tell something behind this painting but the patron thought Da Vinci had perfected the painting and thus the patron declared Da Vinci to stop working on it?

In 2003 Dan Brown wrote a fiction detective novel based on the secret codes behind Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings, even though it was a fiction, I did convince by part of Brown’s account on Leonardo: in the book Dan Brown believes that “Leonardo put into his art what he kept out of his notebooks, and he displays them in subtle details conveying his true belief”: This idea perfectly matches what Humanist artists think; Renaissance artists tended to take credit of their work by adding signatures or drawing themselves in the artwork subtly, and I believe that great artists like Da Vinci would never want his artworks’ credits falling into his Patrons’ hands.

 The woman next to Jesus

One of the most famous mysteries of the painting will undoubtedly be the woman sitting next to Jesus, in the book Brown argues that even though the Bible specifically said that there were no women in the dining table, there was still a chance that Da Vinci was signifying that the girl could be Mary (it was John originally) in the painting. Why? If we look closer, we can clearly see a ostentatious V shape between Jesus’ right body and Mary (John)’s left body: Even early in the Renaissance period people have known that V shape indicated woman’s body shape, so in this sense, was Leonardo Da Vinci trying to add some feminism aspects into this paint? Or we’re just thinking too much?

I personally believe that the human sitting next to Jesus Christ leaning left was a man, the reason may vary between individuals but according to the bible, the one sitting on the table was John but not Mary.

-Empty area between John and Jesus Christ creates an obvious V- shape that has been suspected Leonardo adding feminism element in the painting.

Missing Halos?

If we zoom closer to Jesus Christ’s head we couldn’t really find any holy symbols. Whereas most of the other paintings of the last supper before and after Da Vinci contained a halo showing that Jesus Christ is the divine inspiration. Scholars from discovery channel have claimed that Da Vinci did this intentionally because “he didn’t actually believe in god, Da Vinci believed that nature was god and the only way to present his idea was to display it on his artwork: humanizing divine figures.

Simon Ushakov‘s icon of the Mystical Supper.

 

The Washing of Feet and the Supper, from the Maesta by Duccio, 1308-1311. Peter often displays amazement in feet washing depictions, as in John 13:8.

Jesus and Mary’s baby

Over the years, rumors about Da Vinci’s intention in adding hidden secret in the last supper rose. This is one of the subtle painting details people have discovered recent years: that there was a baby on the dining table and it was claimed to be Jesus Christ and Mary’s baby. Look at the picture below; can you see a baby holding by two men on the left side of the painting and a beard men look at the baby with surprise?

– In this picture we can clearly see the baby head on green man’s shoulder and it looks pretty unnatural.

I personally think this baby saying is a scam: First of all, when Leonardo Da Vinci first painted this painting, he claimed to use the wrong type of paint few months after its completion; dry paints started falling off the wall and those areas gradually became whitish/ brownish, and the baby’s head is obviously the fell of area.

The last supper is actually a Hebrew music script, not a cathedral painting

Among all the uncertain rumors about secrets hidden in the paint, I would say this being the most convincing and the most interesting one. This Video (http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/4544-secrets-of-the-last-supper-video.htm) shows how Da Vinci tried to write a music sheet by drawing hints in the paintings:

– The music script being found by discovery channel; perhaps Da Vinci tried to signify some sort of music relating to the church where this painting locates.

Notice how in the paintings some disciples were holding breads? When scholars drew staff going across the painting and connect each bread piece holding by disciples, the breads as music dots actually created a legit piece of church music! And the most surprising thing was that the it wasn’t any random piece Da Vinci just instantly created, it was a famous Hebrew Church music existing long ago before Da Vinci’s the last supper.

This is what it sounds like:

 

 

Leonardo was certainly not any divine figures but if the above rumors are all truths, I can imagine why Leonardo chose to play these tricks in his artwork: Back in the Renaissance people gave artists high reverence; Most people treated artists like Da Vinci as if they were the bridge between divine and mortal; they bring the divine experience into human life (most of them helped creating cathedral arts). I think there was a huge probability that Da Vinci regarded himself the same way other people perceived him: He had the power to change whatever he wanted in the artwork if he could dismiss his patrons. In this painting Da Vinci thoroughly expressed his true feelings and we can see that Da Vinci might hint in his artwork that he may not be Jesus Christ, but he can pretend he has the same power by manipulating details in the painting.

However, most people still believe that the painting is totally normal and Da Vinci didn’t even think of playing tricks in his art. Whether it is true or not- still remains a mystery.

 

 

Image citations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Duccio_di_Buoninsegna_029.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Last-supper-from-Kremikovtsi.jpg

Work Cited:

-Secrets of ‘The Last Supper’ Secrets of ‘The Last Supper’ Secrets of the last supper. Howstuffworks.com, 2012. Filmstrip. <http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/4544-secrets-of-the-last-supper-video.htm&gt;.

– Esaak, Shelley. “Is that John or Mary Magdalene in the Last Supper?.” About.com. (2012): n. page. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://arthistory.about.com/cs/last_supper/f/john_v_mary.htm&gt;.

– . “Lastsupperbaby.com.” Lastsupperbaby.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Mar 2012. <http://www.lastsupperbaby.com/&gt;.

– DaVinci’s Shadow Found In Last Supper? DaVinci’s Shadow Found In Last Supper? DaVinci’s Shadow Found In Last Supper?. DiscoveryNetwork, 2009. Filmstrip. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjT11RfBh5Y&feature=relmfu&gt;.

– WikiPedia. “Leonardo DaVinci.” WikiPedia. 2012. Print. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci&gt;.

– Jones, Jonathan. “The real Da Vinci code.” Guardian. (2006): n. page. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2006/aug/30/art1&gt;.

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6 comments

  1. jisoo966

    Hi Gary, you post is very interesting! I learned many things about Leonardo Davinci’s “Last Supper” from your post. I did not know that there was a baby in the painting. Why do you think Leonardo tried to play tricks in his artwork? Do you think this painting was more meaningful to him?
    Thanks!
    -Jisoo

    • Hi JIsoo:

      Thanks for the reply! I think the biggest reason Leonardo tried playing these little tricks in his artwork was that at the time when he was working for a patron, and especially working on a church property, it became really difficult to take credit from his own production. And in order to do so, Leonardo decided to put these little tricks, taking some invisible credits!
      I think this is one of his most holy like paintings, but as I said, I was never satisfied with this masterpiece!

      Gary L.

  2. Great post, Gary! I learned a lot about Leonardo’s style in your post. I find it interesting how he included all of those tricks in his pieces of art. Do you think the reason why Leonardo was smart, was because of his motivation and work ethic, or was his intelligence something he was just born with?

    Ajay

    • Thanks for your reply, Ajay! I like you insightful observation!
      Of course I couldn’t figure out what Leonardo was actually thinking since he has died for so long.
      As the revolutionary inventor Thomas Edison once stated, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” I think Leonardo definitely posses his intelligence but at the same time wisely used his intelligence to do hard works, and produced these wonderful artworks.
      I would say Leonardo was smart initially, but his passion pursued his career even further.

      Gary L.

  3. becca0906

    Hey Gary! I really liked your post; all your pictures and videos were really interesting. I especially liked your title and how you linked Leonardo da Vinci’s tricks back to artists’ perceptions of themselves during the Renaissance. Do you think that da Vinci knowingly put those tricks in his art, or they are just products of people over-analyzing his pieces?
    Thanks! Great post!
    -Becca

  4. Thank you Becca! I’m glad you enjoy it!
    About your question; I think it is still a mystery. In a more practical and scientific way, these mysteries are simply products of people’s suspections over the years. But there are too many coincidences in this painting and sometimes I would be convinced that Da Vinci was actually playing tricks in this painting. Of course, there are some counter- factors such as falling paint made part of the painting look odd.

    -Gary L.

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