Thursday, 1 February 2018

MAKING CONNECTIONS: CONSPIRACY THEORIES IN THE ART WORLD

THROWBACK THURSDAY

BY: LEORE ZECHARIA

If you’re like me, then movies like The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure hold a special place in your heart. It was movies like these that made me realize how cool museums and history could be, even though it’s not exactly like how it is in the movies. However, these movies have a lasting effect; they popularized the idea that codes and secret messages could be hidden in master works of art. Therefore, for this week’s Throwback Thursday, I’d like to throw it back to some of the world’s most famous works of art and discuss some major conspiracy theories surrounding them.


1. The Mona Lisa contains hidden code in her eyes


As da Vinci’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa has many unsolved mysteries surrounding it, including the identity of its subject. However, one of the major questions surrounding it is if there are hidden messages in her eyes. Members of Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage revealed that by looking at magnified high resolution images of the Mona Lisa, there are letters and numbers in the eyes. The letters “LV” appear to be in the right eye, while the left eye is more difficult to make out. Conspiracy theorists mention that da Vinci took this painting everywhere with him; therefore, was he protecting some secret message?

The Mona Lisa. Source.

2. The true identity of Jack the Ripper is painter Walter Sickert (and he painted the scenes of his murders) 


The identity of Jack the Ripper is still unknown over 100 years later. In 2001, author Patricia Cornwell identified Jack the Ripper as painter Walter Sickert. Cornwall spent over two million Euros obtaining thirty-two of Sickert’s paintings and letters in order to prove her theories. Sickert’s paintings contain nudes and scenes of nightlife in London, which provide the evidence for her claims. More specifically, in Sickert’s 1908 series paintings, The Camden Town Murders, Cornwall believes the paintings are too similar to the autopsy photos of Jack the Ripper’s victims. While the rest of the art world disagrees with her theories, Cornwall continues to believe this. So, what do you think? 

The Camden Town Murders. Source.

3. Francisco Goya did not paint his infamous Black Paintings 

The Black paintings are fourteen murals allegedly painted by Goya on the walls of his house later in his life. As a Spanish romantic artist of the eighteenth century, this artwork is comparatively different from his early life to the Black Paintings later in his life. It is believed that Goya isolated himself in his final years and that these murals reflect his mental state during his isolation. It was only after his death that his family discovered the murals. However, art historian Juan Jose Junquera believes that these paintings are fakes. The clear divide in styles, as well as inventory of these paintings, use words not invented at the time it is meant to be written. Junquera believes Goya’s son, Javier, painted the murals and that Javier’s son said they were Goya’s in order to sell his house at a higher price. 

Satan Devouring his Son. Source.

4. The Last Supper

There are many conspiracy theories surrounding da Vinci’s, The Last Supper. One theory states that seated to the right of Jesus is not John, but Mary Magdalene (as suggested in The Da Vinci Code). To add to this theory, Jesus and Mary Magdalene form the letter “V” representing the womb or the divine feminine. It is also believed that if you superimpose the painting on itself that it reveals a woman holding a baby and a Knight Templar at the end of the table. Recently there is believed to be evidence supporting this theory in a manuscript found in the British Library suggesting Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that they had children together. 

The Last Supper. Source.

5. The artwork at Denver International Airport 

While this theory isn’t about a specific piece of artwork, the artwork in the Denver International Airport is the subject of many conspiracy theories. The Denver International Airport was built when there was already an airport in Denver, as well it was over three billion dollars over budget. The airport is twice the size of Manhattan and is filled with strange statues, artwork and murals. People believe that the airport was built in order to hide something. Here are a few of the theories surrounding this airport: it was built by New World Order (a Nazi group), it is the Illuminati’s headquarters which is located beneath the airport (the reason it was so over budget), or that it’s hiding fallout shelters for a world disaster.

Bizarre mural in the Denver International Airport. Source.

So, which theories do you believe?

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