Ariadne Green, a symbols expert, has uncovered a set of astonishing clues in the painting’s composition that experts at Sotheby’s and Christie’s failed to notice and that support the owner’s (Fiona McLaren) claim that the subject of the composition is not the Virgin but Mary Magdalene.
Green set out to put the pieces of the complex puzzle together and has published her analysis and interpretation of the painting of the Madonna and Child in a paper titled, Da Vinci’s Last Testament [see link]. She confesses that in the first hours of examining the composition, it looked like any other generic Madonna and Child with John the Baptist, a common composition of the High Renaissance. However, after re-examining it over the course of several weeks, she was astonished by how much was cleverly concealed.
She was intrigued by certain peculiarities in composition such as the Madonna’s hand having both male and female characteristics, John the Baptist’s missing foot, a Christ infant without halo, and optical illusions emerging as ghostly faces in an area of the painting that was misidentified as an unfinished portion. But the most obvious heretical clue was the inexplicable mark of a fleur-de-lei tattoo on the Madonna’s chest. In the 21st century that would not raise many eyebrows, but in Da Vinci’s era of the 16th century tattoos were reserved for criminals going to the gallows or considered a pagan practice and therefore forbidden by the church. Green points out that the fleur-de-lei was emblematic of the Magdalene bloodline and is only one of several important clues that point to the fact that the Madonna in the painting is not the Virgin Mary, but Mary Magdalene.
Green says, the façade of a Madonna, dressed in her traditional attire, faded away to reveal what the “master” Leonardo Da Vinci encoded and envisioned: a heretical masterpiece composed of arcane symbols, optical illusions, purposeful omissions and layered meanings to put forth his last testament. The subject of this testament was two-fold. Firstly, Mary Magdalene was the Bride of Christ and she holds their son. And secondly, the elderly Leonardo, who was by now crippled by a stroke, had envisioned his own death and wished to convey his spiritual conversion.
On the heels of the discovery of the Jesus’ Wife papyrus, this discovery causes us to wonder if there was more fact than fiction to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. Mary Magdalene rises in front of us again.
Ariadne Green is an author and dream and symbols expert best know for her book, Ariadne’s Book of Dreams: A Dictionary of Ancient and Contemporary Symbols, Warner Books, 2001.
Links: Da Vinci’s Last Testament- http://www.ariadnegreen.com/
Contact Ariadne Green