When Dan Brown released his novel The Da Vinci Code he renewed interest in the artwork of Leonardo Da Vinci and opened much speculation on whether there was more to his work than meets the eye? Specifically that Leonardo was an artist who hid complex codes and hidden secrets within his art.
There is much evidence to support this idea as it is well known that many artists over the centuries have used symbolism to embed deeper meaning into their works than what can be seen at face value. Given that Leonardo was a 'thinker' on so many levels, including his complex ideas as an inventor, there is every chance that his art is filled with hidden meaning.
Whilst Dan Brown's book mentions more than one of Da Vinci's artworks it is The Last Supper, located in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy, that gets most of the attention. Largely, I think, because Dan Brown ties it to one of the great mysteries of human legend, the search for the Holy Grail.
I have read The Da Vinci Code and it is a great read. Even though it sources real artworks, societies and research facts I don't think Dan has ever said that his story is anything other than a work of, at best, hypothetical fiction.
Thanks to The Phoenix and the Harley, who wrote in her blog a post titled, De-Coding Leonardo, I was made aware of Italian musician, Giovanni Maria Pala, who claims to have found a musical code within The Last Supper. Giovanni's find was reported on the Discovery Channel web site as a prelude to the launch of his new book, "La Musica Celata" (which translates to "The Hidden Music"), documenting his findings.
If you're interested to know more about Giovanni's musical code then follow the link above to the Discovery Channel article but for my money there's just too much rearranging of elements for me to say the code was intentional. It's almost like saying, if you write 'Leonardo was here' across the face of the painting and then stand back you'll see a previously hidden message that wasn't there. Which is to say you're seeing things of your creation rather than by any intent from Leonardo.
I'm not convinced.
All this leads to what inspired me to write this article and that is a mystery that I'd wondered about for a time in relation to a certain dagger holding hand within The Last Supper. It may have been the movie of The Da Vinci Code that started the rumor or it could have been something else but either way it was suggested that the dagger holding hand in the artwork could not be attributed to any of the Apostles surrounding it. A 'phantom' hand if you like.
Thanks to an extremely useful site, appropriately titled, The Last Supper in detail, I was able to take a closer look at this hand and, as you can see in the screen shots, it clearly can be attributed to one Apostle , Peter. Consistent with other similar depictions of the Last Supper during the same period.
For those of us that can't see the artwork in person but would like to find hidden meanings, codes or just gain a better understanding of this exceptional piece of history then The Last Supper in Detail is the best site for extreme close up detail unrivaled by any other site online.
The site also references some of the source material, notes etc. that Leonardo created in preparation for the painting. If there is a code to be found then surely some strong hint of it would appear in this information?