After “The Da Vinci Code” became a best-selling phenomenon, conspiracy theorists and historians joined as one to study the world of art, looking for secrets. With a helping hand from the internet, a huge number of attention-grabbing theories about famous paintings have risen ever since.
Celebrated artworks are so much more than beautiful pictures. The likes of Michelangelo, da Vinci, and van Gogh were as much masters of allegory and symbolism as they were of paintbrush and canvas.
Here are 10 hidden signs in famous paintings.
1. The music inside The Last Supper
It might be common knowledge that da Vinci was an accomplished musician, but not many people know about the song he painted into “The Last Supper,” using rolls and hands in the place of music notes.
When read from right to left, which adheres to Da Vinci’s unique writing style, the notes combine to make a tuneful 40-second composition. Even disbelievers have admitted that the composition’s note perfect harmony is too good to be a coincidence.
2. The missing whale
When “Scheveningen Sands” was painted in the 1600s, it was a depiction of a group of beachgoers clustered around a beached whale. Somewhere along the way, the animal was painted over, leaving the group standing around for no visible reason.
When the restoration began at the Fitzwilliam Museum, those working on the piece eventually uncovered what appeared to be a man floating in midair, but eventually, the fin of the whale was revealed.
3. Hidden artist self-portrait
The portrait, which appears in the reflection of light on the surface of the wine, shows Caravaggio at the age of 25, with dark curly hair, holding a paintbrush and working at an easel.
4. The Greek myth behind the art
Wood’s seemingly idyllic painting of a farmer couple looks normal until we take a closer look. The woman’s brooch is a picture of the Greek character Persephone, who was kidnapped by the king of the underworld Hades. It is then not a coincidence that the man is holding a pitchfork similar to the one Hades is often depicted holding in classical art.
5. Imaginary flowers and plants
Botticelli’s La Primavera shows 500 known species of plants drawn with incredible attention to detail. However, there are also species that continue to puzzle experts, that may be hybrids of existing ones or entirely made up.
6. Anatomy in Michelangelo’s work
Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” has endured not only as the most famous of the Sistine Chapel panels but also as one of the single most iconic images of humanity.
The portrait has often been the subject of speculation due to God’s cape resembling the shape of a human brain. Does this mean that Michelangelo believed that God was the creation of the human brain? That will never be known but it could be an interesting look into the brain of one of the most iconic artists in history.
7. The two faces of The Old Fisherman
Csontváry Kosztka’s work of an old fisherman tells the story of not one but two different characters once split into two, and both sides are mirrored. On one hand, there seems to be a pious man in prayer and on the other, there’s a frightening figure resembling the Devil sailing in a stormy sea.
8. Aliens and hovering objects
Domenico Ghirlandaio’s “Madonna with Saint Giovannino” features an interesting little blob hovering in the sky over Mary’s left shoulder. It is an object which the artist depicted in huge detail, making sure it would stand out in his work of art.
To the right of the painting, we can see a man who is holding his right arm above his eyes, signifying that this object was extremely bright, while in the upper left-hand corner we can see an object that looks like the sun.
9. A modern last supper
For many, “Cafe Terrace at Night” is one of Van Gogh’s most important paintings. If you look at the painting, like most, you’ll probably see an ordinary, unremarkable scene, painted with the artist’s trademark magic touch. Yet many believe the picture is actually a portrayal of the Last Supper.
The Last Supper is the final meal that Jesus sat down to eat with his 12 disciples. If you count them, Van Gogh’s painting clearly portrays 12 people sitting down to eat, with a long-haired central figure standing among them.
Coincidence? Maybe. But when you take into account the number of hidden crosses in the painting , including one above the Christ-like figure, all the evidence points to the assertion that this painting truly is Van Gogh’s artistic expression of the Last Supper.
10. A secret cameo by the Devil
During the restoration of Giotto’s frescos in a church in Italy’s Assisi, art restorers made an unexpected discovery: they found a face that looks like the Devil, hidden in the clouds of one of the fresco panels. You can clearly see a mouth, nose, and eyes.
Experts believe Giotto may have painted the face in there for his own amusement, or even to mock someone he was not in good relations with.
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Spanish Artist Recreates Famous Roman Emperors Through Stunning Sculptures
Julius Caesar, Augustus, and Nero come to life in these amazing hyperrealistic sculptures.
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Césares de Roma is the Spanish sculptor's ongoing project that aims to spread knowledge of the Roman Empire through art. "Césares de Roma was born from the need to spread Roman classic history from a more human, real and modern perception," the artist tells us through a BoredPanda feature. "Recreating the faces of Roman rulers and emperors who died more than two thousand years ago is not something that should be left to chance. For this reason and with the aim of bringing them back to our time, the exhaustive study of numismatics, sculptures, reliefs and classical literary sources that have reached our days, making it possible for us to approach the real aspect as closely as possible, plays a fundamental role."
Gaius Julius Caesar