Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Most Mysterious Woman in the World

I am fascinated with all things Leonardo.  He was an artist who's scientific knowledge is reflected in his art, an engineer and inventor.   He loved animals and was a vegetarian.  He despised war yet developed deadly weapons. His work is even more fascinating in that it is packed with symbolism and  code.   I recently read an article about art experts from the National Cultural Heritage committee in Italy having discovered tiny letters painted into the eyes of The Mona Lisa. They examined the Mona Lisa after finding a book in an antique shop that claimed there were tiny hidden symbols in the eyes.  The symbols were discovered  by viewing magnified images of the 500 year old portrait.

The symbols are not visible with the naked eye but are seen clearly with a magnifying glass.  The right eye appears to have the letters LV, possibly for Da Vinci name.  There are symbols in the left eye as well but more difficult to make out. Symbols were also found painted in a bridge in the background of the painting.

Art historian Silvano Vinceti said the letters B or S, or possibly the initials CE, were discernible, a said they were clue to the identity of the model who sat for the painting. The Mona Lisa  has often been identified as the wife of a Florentine merchant, but Vinceti disagreed, claiming Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa in Milan. Numbers found on the back of the painting suggest it was painted in the 1490's when Da Vinci was in Milan and that the model was from the court of the Duke of Milan.

On a trip to France I was able to visit the beautiful town of Amboise and the chateau where Leonardo spent the last years of his life.  He may have been buried at the Chapel of Saint-Hubert on the grounds but mystery surrounds his final resting place as well.

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