The other Da Vinci code: did Leonardo paint himself into The Last Supper?
2012 08 21
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
Germany’s Merkel shrugs aside new book about communist-era past, says she never hid anything
2013 05 25
Chancellor Angela Merkel has shrugged aside a book that suggests she may have been closer to East Germany’s communist system than previously thought, saying she’s never hidden anything.
The 58-year-old Merkel grew up in East Germany and entered politics as communism crumbled in 1989. It’s long been known that, like many, she joined the communist youth organization. She has said she ...
‘Lack of public debate on immigration caused Stockholm riots’
2013 05 25
Mishra Mrutyuanjai raises some points that we discussed with Mikael Jalving about in our Red Ice Radio program, in January earlier this year.
Sweden should put its political correctness aside and start an open debate on immigration as it’s the only way to avoid a repeat of the Stockholm riots, Mishra Mrutyuanjai, Swedish Democrats movement member, told RT.
Stockholm is reeling as ...
Stockholm riots spread west on sixth night
2013 05 25
Comments in italics
Stockholm experienced a sixth straight night of riots early Saturday, with cars torched in several immigrant-dominated suburbs, as Britain and the United States warned against travelling to the hotspots.
Nearly a week of unrest, which spread briefly Friday night to the medium-sized city of Oerebro 160 kilometers (100 miles) west of Stockholm, have put Sweden’s reputation as an oasis ...
Marc Abramsson from the National Democratic Party comment on the Husby Riots in Stockholm
2013 05 25
Sweden could be paying a tough price for its policies on immigrants and multiculturalism. A Stockholm suburb erupted into violence for a few hours, as crowds of angry, masked youths from migrant families burned cars, smashed windows and hurled stones at police officers.
What’s believed to have fueled the riot was the death of a 69-year-old man, allegedly shot by ...
‘They don’t want to integrate’: Fifth night of youth rioting rocks Stockholm
2013 05 25
Youth gang riots in the Swedish capital Stockholm have entered fifth straight night. Hundreds of mostly immigrant teenagers tore through the suburbs, smashing windows and burning cars in the country’s worst outbreak of violence in years.
At least six vehicles were torched throughout the city late on Thursday while the police called for reinforcements from other Swedish cities bracing for further ...
|More News » |