Lost Leonardo Painting Found in Farmhouse?

I’m going to go ahead and say, “Not a chance.” Look for yourself:

If that’s from the master’s own hand, I’ll eat my laptop. The numbers on the painting point to the following “proofs“:

1. A similarity between the boy and child in his famous piece Madonna of the Rocks, 2. A distinctive ‘v’ shape in the middle of the woman’s hairline reminiscent of that shown in the last supper, 3. The fleur-de-lys is often said to be a hidden emblem of the secretive Priory of Sion, 4. The area by the woman’s shoulder is unfinished, common in da Vinci works, 5. A tracing of the figure in the Last Supper matches exactly the outline of the woman in this painting, 6. The baby’s second toe is longer than the big toe – another classic da Vinci feature.

All of which adds up to … not very much, especially the idiotic reference to the Priory of Sion. It may, however, be the work of one of his students, which could make it important nonetheless. Its age is undeniable, and it has a fragment of paper on the back that some are identifying as a “papal bull” (?) from Paul V. That would place the “bull” in the period from 1605 to 1621, about a hundred years after the death of Leonardo. Papal bulls (short for “bulla,” the official seal that would have affixed them) were for formal pronouncements, so I’m not quite sure what Paul V would have been doing issuing one about a painting.

And then there’s this double-face-palm moment in the article:

She thinks the true meaning of the artwork may have been disguised for centuries because such a work would have been considered heretic by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Pope decreed the Virgin Mary should be illustrated in blue whereas Mary Magdalene had to be shown in red attire, as depicted in this painting.

Just … no. Yes, the Blessed Mother is traditionally depicted in blue, and the Church has encouraged this for various extremely logical reasons, but it’s nothing that rises to the level of “heresy”. (I’m assuming she means “heretical”, an adjective, rather than “heretic”, a noun. Seriously: do they even bother teaching grammar to journalism students any more, or did they replace that with a year-long class on gender-neutral pronouns?)

Also, I do wish the media would stop calling Leonardo da Vinci just “da Vinci.” It’s like calling St. Francis just “Assisi” or me just “New Jersey.” This is a Dan Brownism, and it grates on my nerves.

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Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • victor

    For a Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle, though, that’s pretty good.

  • suburbanbanshee

    Actually, the Virgin Mary usually wore blue and red, as a sign that she was a human (red) who was connected with heaven and purity (blue). And sure enough, she’s wearing the usual red dress with blue cloak; it’s just that the blue cloak is only seen on her lap, at her back, and behind/over her head. Even Wikipedia knows about the red/blue thing.

  • Some Guy

    Also, how they portray Mary (blue/red) is switched in the East.

    And, you’re 100% right, so much of this is just misinformation and ignorance about the Church.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    As in Leonardo’s own “Virgin and Child With St. Anne.” (I always understood the red to be for her sorrow: “A sword shall pierce your heart.”)

    And the Priory of Sion now fill the role that used to be filled by the Templars. As Umberto Eco wrote: “The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.”

  • Trudy W Schuett

    No, they don’t teach grammar in J-school, they presume students would have had the class already. Since most of high school English is geared toward simply trying to get students to write a coherent sentence of any kind, grammar is often overlooked.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    That’s crazy. It doesn’t take four years to teach someone to be a journalist, so what do they spend their time doing?

  • Kay L. Hicks

    Thank you so much for saying this! I am a college art history and critical thinking instructor. I think the initial articles about this painting are full of unfounded speculation and ignorance. Thank you for offering a voice of reason and understanding.