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For years, some paintings have held the attention of art lovers, not just because they are beautiful, but because they hold within themselves, unsolved mysteries and hidden secrets. While many theories about the real meaning or possible interpretations have been debunked as mere attention grabbing speculations, here are 6 paintings with secret meanings that will make you look at them in a completely different light!
1. The Creation of Adam – Michelangelo
It is well-known that Michelangelo was an exceptional artist, architect and sculptor. However, not many people know that he was also an expert anatomist, who used to dissect corpses with the intention of producing anatomical sketches!
There are reasons to believe that Michelangelo left such anatomical illustrations behind in many of his works. The Creation of Adam, one of his most iconic works in the Sistine Chapel, is one such example.
Concealed within the robes and the faces of the figure of God, is a representation of the human brain - which many believe was the artist’s attempt at a covert attack on the church’s contempt for science!
2. Café Terrace at Night - Vincent Van Gogh
Café Terrace at Night, a painting by Vincent Van Gogh completed in 1888, came under the spotlight recently when scholars claimed to have found within it, a homage to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
And sure enough, if one looks closely, you can see that the painting features twelve seated diners and a standing server, and what could be seen as a cross behind the central, long-haired figure.
Although this symbolism was never explicitly stated by Van Gogh, in a letter he wrote to his brother soon after completing the painting, the artist claimed that he had a “tremendous need for, shall I say the word - for religion”, making the reference to The Last Supper in the painting very likely.
3. The Last Supper - Leonardo da Vinci
It is true that the original painting “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci has always fascinated people from the around the world, especially if one looks at the many conspiracies and theories materializing every now and then.
In 2007, an Italian musician claimed to have found musical notes in the painting, that results in a tuneful 40-second musical composition. The notes, which are ‘hidden’ in the bread rolls and hands of the apostles in the painting, is read from right to left, following Da Vinci's own writing style.
(A laptop screen showing the musical notes. Image Source: livescience.com)
While the theory is not confirmed, many believe that it is plausible, especially since Da Vinci was an excellent musician himself.
Listen to the composition here.
4. Portrait of Bill Clinton - Nelson Shanks
In 2006, former U.S President Bill Clinton unveiled a portrait of himself painted by American artist John Nelson Shanks. It shows the President standing beside a mantel in the Oval Office.
(Image Source: thehill.com)
At first glance, the painting does not reveal much. However, Nelson Shanks himself admitted that the painting hinted at the infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Since he could never get the scandal completely out of his mind, Shanks subtly incorporated a shadow from a dress into the painting - the same stained blue dress of Monica Lewinsky that became a symbol of the scandal during the 1990's.
5. El Autobus – Frida Kahlo
In 1925, artist Frida Kahlo was involved in a bus accident that left her permanently damaged. Four years later, she painted El Autobus (The Bus) which appears to be a simple painting of Mexican society, with men and women of all social classes sitting along the bench on a wooden bus.
(Image Source: wikiart.org)
However, when you look deeper, the painting seems to refer to the very accident that happened in 1925. The woman sitting on the right corner is believed to be Kahlo herself, and the working man in blue is a representation of the man who pulled an iron handrail from Kahlo’s abdomen after the accident.
6. The Madonna with Saint Giovannino - Domenico Ghirlandaio
(Image Source: disclose.tv)
Though Italian Renaissance painter Domenico Ghirlandaio painted The Madonna with Saint Giovannino in the 15th century, this particular piece of art has kept viewers baffled until today. The painting, which portrays the Madonna with Jesus, appears to have nothing out of the ordinary. But when looked at more closely, it features an unidentifiable object hovering in the sky!
Hugely detailed, probably in order to ensure that it stands out, the object can be seen near Mary’s left shoulder. Under the object, on the ledge, the painting features a man staring at it, as he blocks the sun out with his hand.
(Image Source: ritely.com)
Not surprisingly, the painting has intrigued U.F.O enthusiasts for ages, and while there is no agreement regarding the nature of the object, there is no doubt that its presence makes the painting a fascinating one!
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