Tag Archives | Leonardo Da Vinci

The Leonardo Hidden from Hitler in Case it Gave Him Magic Powers

WARNING: Viewing this Leonard da Vinci selfie may imbue you with special powers:

Leonardo da Vinci - presumed self-portrait - WGA12798.jpg
People actually believed this enough to go to great lengths to keep it away from Adolf Hitler, who was famously interested in the occult. The story from BBC News:

One of the world’s most famous self-portraits is going on rare public display in the northern Italian city of Turin. Very little is known about the 500-year-old, fragile, fading red chalk drawing of Leonardo da Vinci but some believe it has mystical powers.

There is a myth in Turin that the gaze of Leonardo da Vinci in this self-portrait is so intense that those who observe it are imbued with great strength.

Some say it was this magical power, not the cultural and economic value of the drawing, that led to it being secretly moved from Turin and taken to Rome during World War Two – heaven forbid it should ever fall into Hitler’s hands and give him more power.

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The Real Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, from C2RMF retouchedIn case you’re curious about the identity of the woman with that enigmatic smile, an Italian art historian says he’s about to find out. From the Guardian:

A self-styled Italian art history sleuth says he has taken an important step towards identifying the remains of the woman thought to be the model for the Mona Lisa.

Silvano Vinceti and his researchers entered the martyrs’ crypt in Florence’s Santissima Annunziata basilica, 300 years after it was last opened, in pursuit of a two-and-a-half-year mission to identify the remains of Lisa Gherardini.

Last year the team recovered eight skeletons from the Sant’Orsola convent in Florence, thought to be the resting place of Gherardini, who was the wife of a Renaissance-era silk merchant and is traditionally considered the model for Leonardo Da Vinci‘s portrait.

Three of those skeletons are now undergoing carbon dating tests at the University of Bologna to establish if they date from the 1500s, when Leonardo is thought to have worked on his most celebrated painting.

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Mona Lisa Is Painting Of Da Vinci’s Gay Lover, Italian Researcher Claims

156-1258703207Is the most beautiful and iconic woman in the history of art actually a man? When one compares the Mona Lisa to other works in question (see right), the facial similarities are striking. The Washington Post reports on the controversial theory:

A male apprentice, longtime companion and possible lover of Leonardo da Vinci was the main influence and a model for the “Mona Lisa” painting, an Italian researcher said.

But the researcher, Silvano Vinceti, said Wednesday the portrait also represents a synthesis of Leonardo’s scientific, artistic and philosophical beliefs. Because the artist worked on it at various intervals for many years, he was subjected to different influences and sources of inspiration, and the canvas is full of hidden symbolic meanings. “The ‘Mona Lisa’ must be read at various levels, not just as a portrait,” Vinceti said.

The apprentice Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known as Salai, worked with Leonardo for more than two decades starting in 1490.

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Da Vinci’s Ornithopter Finally Takes Flight

Photo: Todd Reichert, University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies

Photo: Todd Reichert, University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies

That Leonardo, he was something, eh? Reuters reports that Todd Reichert a 28-year-old studying engineering at the University of Toronto, has finally realized Da Vinci’s dream of flying like a bird:

Centuries after the Renaissance inventor sketched a human-powered flying machine, Canadian engineering students say they have flown an engineless aircraft that stays aloft by flapping its wings like a bird.

International aviation officials are expected to certify next month that the Snowbird has made the world’s first successful, sustained flight of a human-powered ornithopter, according to the University of Toronto.

The Snowbird sustained both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds, in an August 2 test flight near Toronto that was witnessed by an official of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the university announced. A video of the flight was shown on news programs on Wednesday.

Others have claimed to have built machines that flew like a bird, but the Canadian group says they have the telemetry data to prove their ornithopter powered itself through the air rather than just glided after being lifted aloft.

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