Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Da Vinci Code ... Now The Mona Lisa Code?

Word has come from an Italian researcher that yet another great masterpiece contains secret information.

Tradition holds that the "Mona Lisa" is a painting of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo, and that Leonardo started painting it in 1503.

The painting is a half-length portrait and depicts a seated woman (it is almost unanimous that she is Lisa del Giocondo) whose facial expression is frequently described as enigmatic. The ambiguity of the subject's expression, the monumentality of the composition, and the subtle modeling of forms and atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the continuing fascination and study of the work.

The image is so widely recognized, caricatured, and sought out by visitors to the Louvre that it is considered the most famous painting in the world.

Silvano Vinceti claims he has found the letter "S'' in the woman's left eye, the letter "L'' in her right eye, and the number "72" under the arched bridge in the backdrop of Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting.

The newly found symbols are not visible to the naked eye. Vinceti said Wednesday they are "very small, painted with a tiny brush and subjected to the wear and tear of time."

Vinceti has not studied the painting directly at the Louvre Museum, where it is on display. He said his research was based on high-definition scanned images from the Lumiere Technology in Paris, which specializes in digitizing artworks. Back in Italy, a Rome laboratory digitally excluded reflexes and other colours in the eyes in order to isolate the letters and make them stand out, Vinceti said.

The number "72" was recently found hidden in an arch of the bridge to the right of the model, he told The Associated Press.

But Vinceti said the "S'' might refer to a woman in the Sforza dynasty that ruled Milan. Leonardo spent time there between 1482-1499 and then between 1506-1507, Vinceti said, which might change the date of when the painting was begun.

Vinceti said the letter on the painting is drawn in the same way Leonardo did in his writings. The letter "L'' is for Leonardo, he said.

Where is Robert Langdon when you need him!
(Tom Hanks played the Harvard University symbologist Langdon in the Da Vinci Code)

The number "72," Vinceti argues, is found in the Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism, and in Christianity. Even when considered separately, "7'' is full of symbolic associations in both Judaism and Christianity, for example to the creation of the world, and the number "2'' may be a reference to the duality of male and female, said Vinceti.

"Leonardo did nothing by chance," said Vinceti. "He wanted to leave his final thoughts on his view of the universe."

Alessandro Vezzosi, the director of a museum dedicated to Leonardo in his Tuscan hometown of Vinci, was skeptical.

Vezzosi argued that multiple sources prove that the painting depicts a woman from Florence, saying the purported new symbols are insufficient to counter that evidence.

Claudio Strinati, an art historian and an official with the Italian Culture Ministry, said Leonardo's passion for the Kabbalah is well known. But he doesn't believe that Leonardo wanted to attach any symbolic meaning to the letters and numbers, otherwise he would have left better clues.

"Over the past decades there have been so many interpretations I don't even remember them all," Strinati told The AP. "We all think the (Mona Lisa) is this constant source of mystery. The truth is, when you set your mind to finding a secret, you can demonstrate whatever you want."

At least in the 2003 movie The Da Vinci Code, no pretense was made of the fact that the story was fictional.

As one blogger summed this affair up: "I see a group of researchers who need to be forced to go out and find a real job. Come on world, please. If they have the time and resources to perform these meaningless acts, then I must ask: "why ?", why does the world entertain these frivolous and wasteful endeavors ? Who cares why she is smiling, no, really, who gives a @#$%. She was probably tickling herself down under while he was painting, or had just smoked some opium. And the worldly, scholarly, artistically inclined geniuses of our time are intrigued. Get a life."