The other Da Vinci code: did Leonardo paint himself into The Last Supper?
By Dalya Alberge | Independent.co.uk
For years scholars have wondered what he looked like. But was the answer staring them in the face all along?
The Last Supper: James the Lesser/Leonardo, second from left. Thomas/Leonardo, sixth from right, with extended finger
It is a question that has fascinated art historians: what did Leonardo da Vinci look like?
The Renaissance genius left no youthful self-portraits, although academics have long suspected that he may have inserted his likeness into one of his own masterpieces.
But now one art expert has proposed a tantalising new theory – that Leonardo actually depicted himself, twice, in The Last Supper, one of art’s most famous paintings.
Ross King, the author of the international bestseller Brunelleschi’s Dome, believes Leonardo used his own face for the apostles Thomas and James the Lesser in the 500-year-old mural in Milan.
His evidence lies partly in a little-known poem written in the 1490s – when Leonardo was painting The Last Supper. Its author, Gasparo Visconti, was a friend of the artist and, like him, a Sforza court employee.
In humorous verse, Visconti mocks an unnamed artist for putting his self-portrait into his paintings – "however handsome it may be" – and with his own "actions and ways", namely gestures and expressions.
Leonardo’s own good looks were legendary, recorded by his 16th century biographer, Giorgio Vasari, as "endowed by heaven with beauty, grace and talent". And Thomas’s upraised finger gesture in the painting was viewed by contemporaries as a Leonardo trademark.
Dr King also points to a red chalk drawing, believed to depict Leonardo around 1515, sketched by one of his assistants. It shows a classically handsome man with a Greek nose, flowing hair and a long beard – "a rare sight on the chins of 15th century Italians", he notes. In The Last Supper, Thomas – to the right of Christ – and James the Lesser – second from left – are reminiscent of that image – both with a Greek nose, flowing hair and a beard.
Dr King told The Independent: "The Last Supper is the only work that no one – either crackpot or academic – has tried to identify as a Leonardo portrait."
Bloomsbury Publishing will publish his latest research in Leonardo and The Last Supper on 30 August, coinciding with its choice as BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week.
Little of Leonardo’s original mural, painted for the refectory of the Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery, survives today. Besides deteri oration, Allied bombing exposed it to the elements and its subsequent restoration left critics divided.
In his book, Dr King writes that "Leonardo-spotting has become a popular pastime" with numerous supposed identifications. He adds that the most famous is the supposed self-portrait of an old man in red chalk. However, as it is now believed to date from the 1490s – contemporary with The Last Supper – it cannot be a self-portrait.
Charles Nicholl, the noted Leonardo scholar, said: "Of all the apostles that [Leonardo] would wish to be identified with, I think Doubting Thomas would be top of his list because Leonardo was a great believer in asking questions rather than accepting what people tell you."
Article from: independent.co.uk
Possible da Vinci painting found in Scottish farmhouse; could be worth $150 million
Ancient Aliens - Leonardo Da Vinci
Walter Russell - The Leonardo Da Vinci of the 20th Century
Belief in Da Vinci Code and other "wacky, false" Conspiracies (like 9/11) is "coping mechanism"
In Defense of the Da Vinci Code
Last Supper was a day earlier, scientist claims
Last Supper is growing by Biblical proportions
Italian musician uncovers hidden music in Da Vinci’s ’Last Supper’
Latest News from our Front Page
Benjamin Netanyahu's Full Speech to Congress
Here is the full speech of Pathological Zionist Liar Benjamin Netanyahu to the United States Congress.
"And the Oscar goes too ...."
Description from YouTube: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel used one of the most prominent platforms in the world on Tuesday to warn against what he called a “bad deal” being negotiated with Iran to freeze its nuclear program, bringing ...
The FDA Admits That Prior to 2011 Over 70% of U.S. Chickens Contained Cancer-Causing Arsenic
Prior to 2011, the cancer-causing toxic chemical Roxarsone, which in high doses could kill you, was being added to chicken feed on purpose, giving store-bought chicken the illusion of healthy coloring and plump appearance. Shockingly, this was the case with more than 70 percent of all U.S. chickens! A recent article was published stating that this continued to be the ...
The Truth About Starbucks New Coconut Milk: It Isn’t Really Coconut Milk
In an attempt to appeal to the non-dairy crowd, Starbucks is bringing “coconut milk” to the masses. After a successful trial run in select cities at the behest of their customers, Starbucks has decided to push forward with their dairy alternative.
Providing a non-dairy alternative to dairy and soy is the second most requested customer idea of all time from MyStarbucksIdea.com, ...
USDA on board with shipping U.S. chickens to China for processing, then re-entry to States for human consumption
“Chinese chicken” will soon have a whole new meaning, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently gave the green-light to four chicken processing plants in China, allowing chicken raised and slaughtered in the U.S. to be exported to China for processing, and then shipped back to the U.S. and sold on grocery shelves here. Furthermore, the imported ...
Feinstein: Netanyahu does not speak for all Jews
US Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an “arrogant” man who does not speak for all Jews.
The Jewish lawmaker made the remarks in an interview with CNN on Sunday ahead of Netanyahu's controversial visit to the United States.
The Israeli premier arrived in Washington, DC, on Sunday night ...
|More News » |