When Slavisa Pesci claimed to have found images of knights and a baby hidden in Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” I was a bit skeptical until I tried it myself. Using a photo-altering program, I pasted a copy of the Last Supper over itself, then flipped the top layer horizontally, creating a mirror image of the picture. Setting the eraser tool to 50%, I proceeded to erase the top layer, and ended up with the very result described by Pesci. While I was unable to pick out the baby that is mentioned, the knights at the ends of the table were immediately evident.
Encouraged by the discovery that Pesci’s claims were indeed correct concerning the Last Supper, I decided to do a bit more research, playing with several of da Vinci’s paintings in the photo editor. I found nothing extraordinary hidden within them, however, and was beginning to think that the knights in the Last Supper were there merely by chance, until I tried the Mona Lisa. I had not expected to find any symbols of interest in the painting, as it was a relatively simple painting, with a single woman taking up most of the space. It did not seem as though it would look very much different when overlaid on itself. Upon experimenting with the painting, however, I was very surprised at what lay therein.
Upon pasting the transparent layer over the original and flipping it horizontally, I was most intrigued to see a perfectly placed third eye. The third eye is a common symbol of enlightenment, but what is even more fascinating is the shape formed around the eye by the light. It is a diamond shape, strangely reminiscent of the Masonic eye in the pyramid found on the one-dollar bill (It is speculated that da Vinci may have had connections to Freemasonry). This diamond shape could also be construed as a phallic symbol, which in turn draws interest to the symbol that appears below the woman’s neck.
Below the woman’s neck appears to be a sort of vase, or chalice, such a shape often being the symbol representing a woman. This chalice seems perfectly positioned to accept the phallic symbol above. Prodding the painting just a bit further, I flipped the transparent layer upside down and saw what appeared to be a scepter of some sort. This scepter seems to come in from the right side of the painting, terminating in the center with a glowing, egg-shaped staff head.
It is now known that the model for the portrait was Lisa Gherardini, the wife of merchant Francesco del Giocondo. However, close examination of the picture shows that it may have been more than just a simple portrait session. The painting itself was not finished for several years, and has been shown to have undergone many changes before finally coming to be the picture we all know. And while Lisa Gherardini may have the model for the Mona Lisa, it is doubtful that the painting was intended for her, as she never received it. In fact, da Vinci carried this painting with him for many years, even until his death. As such, it should not be difficult to believe that the images mentioned, were placed in the portrait intentionally, or at the very least, subsconciously.
Due the time in which he lived, I think it is fair to say that Leonardo da Vinci did not have access to Photoshop. How then could he have hidden such images in his paintings? Leonardo da Vinci was capable of far more than brushing paint across a canvas. He was a scientist and a brilliant mathematician, who intentionally incorporated his mathematical skills into his paintings, including the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. He was also known to use mirrors while painting. Da Vinci was well of aware of the important mathematical aspects of painting and believed that people should not even study his work without having first studied mathematics. He worked closely with Luca Pacioli for a time, who is credited with having said, “Without mathematics, there is no art.” Clearly this was da Vinci’s belief as well.
Da Vinci may or not have expected people to find the images, no one can say for sure, but being the genius that he was, it may have amused his creative mind to insert subtleties and secret symbols that could only be detected through careful study or with the subconscious mind. Some of these are more apparent than others such as the height difference in the background landscape on either side of the Mona Lisa or the triangular shapes formed by Jesus and the figure to his right in the Last Supper. And some may have been meant to remain hidden from the general public, such as Mona Lisa’s third eye and the Last Supper’s knights. Whatever da Vinci’s intentions, I do believe that these hidden images are more than just coincidence. They are a testament to da Vinci’s mathematical precision; intentionally place there with every stroke of his brush.
Leonardo da Vinci: Mathematical Order in Art
Mathematics – Leonardo da Vinci