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There is always more to a picture than meets the eye. And little did we know, some of the famous paintings we know today have secrets hidden beneath their surface. From Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper to Michelangelo’s The Sistine Chapel Ceiling. Most of these famous paintings are hundreds of years old but even after all this time, technology is helping us uncover hidden images in the art by using different restoration techniques like imaging technology and microscopes. And today, art historians are able to uncover some shocking secrets. Some artwork even sparked famous conspiracy theories.
That is why we are here to present to you ten hidden secrets in famous works of art.
1. The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck
This famous painting is said to portray an Italian trader named Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife. The painting is famous for its vivid and detailed representation of the couple, the precise geometry of its composition which features a tricky reflection of the painting that is placed in a framed circular shaped mirror that is hanging on the wall behind the couple.
The details on this painting have sparked several theories about the different symbolism that is featured in the painting. Like the way, the couple is holding each other’s hand, the small dog in front of them, the pair of shoes, and even the single lit candle in the chandelier. There is also the artist’s signature that is placed as graffiti on the wall of the room which states that “Jan van Eyck was here, 1434”.
The circular mirror on the wall that can be seen in the middle of the painting shoes a detailed reflection of the room as the scene was being painted. The reflection even included two additional persons that can be seen standing beside the doorway, one of them may be the artist himself.
2. The Blue Room by Pablo Picasso
This painting is known to be one of Picasso’s earliest masterpieces. Picasso painted this picture when he was just nineteen years old while he was living in Paris. In 2014, scientist found a hidden image in the surface of the painting which revealed a portrait of a man who is wearing a bow tie and resting his chin on his hand.
To this day, it is still a mystery of who the man could be but experts believe that it is not a portrait of Picasso himself.
3. The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci
Considered to be one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpieces, the famous portrayal of Jesus and his disciples during the Last Supper has been the center of several popular theories especially when it was included in Dan Brown’s famous book, The Da Vinci Code.
Sabrina Sforza Galitzia, a Vatican researcher, said that she cracked the astrological and mathematical code that is hidden in the half-moon window above Christ’s head. She said that it reveals signs of a “universal flood” that will happen on March 21, 4006 to November 1, 4006.
4. Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci
The members of Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage found some type of code hidden in the eyes of Mona Lisa and in the background of her portrait. When viewed under a microscope, the letters LV and other less-decipherable letters can be seen in one of her eyes. There is also a visible number 72 on the arch in the background. But to this day, no one is sure what that symbol stands for.
5. Cafe Terrace at Night by Vincent Van Gogh
Some believe that Van Gogh paid respect to Da Vinci through his painting “Café Terrace at Night” because there are specifically twelve persons, just like Jesus’ apostles, who were sitting at the café and the server who stands in the middle looks like Jesus.
6. Statue of David by Michelangelo
Although it is entirely possible that Michelangelo never meant for people to be able to look at David’s face head-on because he is 17-feet tall, if you view the statue from below, he appears to look calm. But when you look closely into his face, you can see that David has an expression of fear or anger may be because he’s about to have a battle with Goliath.
7. Madonna with Saint Giovannino by Domenico Ghirlandaio
The blurry circle that can be seen next to Madonna’s head has sparked controversy for years. Many UFO conspiracy theorists believed that the blurry circle is a depiction of an alien spaceship.
8. The Creation of Adam on the section of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo
The red cloak surrounding God on the painting is remarkably anatomically correct representation of the human brain. Some say that Michelangelo believes that God was the creation of the human brain that’s why he portrayed it like that. But that will never be known.
9. Scheveningen Sands by Hendrick van Anthonissen
Painted in the 1600s, the Scheveningen Sands was a depiction of beachgoers that is gathered around a beached whale. But the whale was painted over and it left the group of people standing around for no reason.
But when the painting was restored at the Fitzwilliam Museum, they eventually found out that there is actually a whale in the painting. According to Shan Kuang, the person who restored the painting, a dead animal in paintings was considered to be offensive during the 18th century.
10. Bacchus by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
A small version of Caravaggio can be seen as a reflection in the wine that Bacchus was holding. The small self-portrait was first seen in 1922 but it was forgotten after years of poor preservation. Thankfully, it was rediscovered in 2009 by using modern technology.
These are the Amazing Clues and Meaning in Famous Works of Art. Which one did you like the best?