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Hidden messages in famous works of art


Image Credit: Restored Last Supper- Wikimedia Commons

We have all enjoyed the classic conspiracy theories over the years, about the hidden messages and meanings in works of art throughout the ages. From Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code and its reference to hidden conspiracies of the church, back further to the hidden communications through hieroglyphics even the US banknote, with its Masonic references — fables and theories are certainly not all based on 'make believe'.

It is true, in fact, that some of the masterpieces enjoyed by millions of people through hundreds of years are laden with hidden messages. Although maybe not as profound as that laid out in the movies but hidden to the untrained eye all the same.

We're outlined some hidden messages in famous works of art worth exploring for yourself.

The Last Supper

Arguably one of the most recognisable biblical works of art, created by Leonardo Da Vinci depicts Jesus Christ at 'the last supper'. Despite swirling conjecture around conspiracy theories, dates to which the world would end, for example, there is a hidden theory within its construct that may indeed have more merit for review.

It was well known that Da Vinci was a musician, and as discovered by Italian Musician, Giovanni Maria Pala, there is a musical melody hidden within its depiction. With the musical staves being drawn across the canvas, the hands and loaves of bread on the table actually create what has been touted as a hymn-like melody! Don't believe us, find a musician friend and check it out for yourself!

Café Terrace at Night

Keeping with the biblical theme, in fact, the theme of the last supper, Vincent Van Gough's 1888 famous oil painting depicting the French nightlife. Set in a stunning cobblestone surround, one can not be teleported to the backstreets of any French city, to enjoy a late-night Fromage and Chablis.

However, in 2015, Jared Baxter, an expert in all things Van Gough shocked the art world — and the church none the less — with the revelation that the painting depicted the last supper!

Upon closer review one can see 12 individuals seated, one of whom is slinking in the shadows — that being the infamous character of Judas. Meanwhile, a long-haired figure stands in the middle, commanding the attention of 'his followers'. In addition, there are said to be crucifixes hiding throughout the painting, including one adorning above the central 'Jesus' character... Check it out for yourself.

The Sistine Chapel

One of the most stunning pieces of fine art ever undertaken, telling the story of Genesis from the old testament of the Bible across nine sections. It wasn't as well known that along with being an artist, sculptor and architect, Michelangelo was, in fact, an anatomist!

From a very young age, he began dissecting corpses from the graveyards — with permission of course — to study, produce sketches and notes for reference and further study. In doing so, he established a lifelong interest and hidden within the story of Genesis plastered on the roof of the Sistine Chapel. If one looks closely, this passion has found its way into one of the greatest stories and works of all time.

Within several robes, as discovered by American scientists , there are several anatomical sketches! These include a brain — hidden within God's neck & chin!

"Why?", you may ask. It is well documented during that time the churches disdain for science, and it is believed that this was a clandestine attack on the church, from within one of their most celebrated paintings!

Although hidden messages are not always biblical, they can be political, personal, even as simply as Da Vinci putting LD, his initials within the left hand eye of the Mona Lisa (Check it, really!), artists insert hidden messages for a range of reasons.

From hiding from persecution, communicating to only a select or chosen few, through to something as simple as having a laugh, it pays to always look more closely at works of fine art — you never know what you may find.

the last supper

Published on December 10, 2020
Art Works Advisory

Art Works is Asia’s leading contemporary art investment gallery, providing advice to investors seeking to capitalize on the fast-appreciating art market.


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