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10th May 2011

Did Leonardo Da Vinci Envision Post Conceptual Art?

Does Leonardo Da Vinci’s turn of the 14th Century Mona Lisa presage the turn of the century 21 st Century Post Conceptual Art theory of Judy Rey Wasserman?

For centuries it has been widely agreed that Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius and one of the greatest artists who ever lived. Like many of the other greatest artists he developed a technique and artistic understanding that was new. His is known as sfumato.

Art historians and professors point to the Mona Lisa as one of the best examples of sfumato. In addition, the portrait is cited for her eyes that seem to follow the viewer while her expression seems to change from into a mysterious smile. Perhaps these attribute are why the Mona Lisa is the best recognized and most famous painting in the world.

In addition to being an artist, Leonardo Da Vinci is well known as a scientist, inventor and lover of codes.

In 2003, American artist Judy  Rey Wasserman developed and founded UnGraven Image Art theory using strokes that are alpha-numeric, phonic and binary symbols (Torah font symbols) to represent the strings of elementary physics. Of course, for all Christians and Jews, this refers to Genesis 1, where basic theology says that the letters of the words of the Lord God are the essences of the physical universe. [Note to see the amazing correlations between Torah font and physics’ theory watch the You Tube video, Painting with the Big Bang of Genesis”]

UnGraven Image Art theory widened into Post Conceptual Art theory, which includes using any type of symbol(s) for strokes. The art theory is the first one that focuses on the stroke and its meaning rather that the image or design it creates. Since the strokes are used traditionally, meaning they overlap or are used as glazes, or shaded, etc., the paintings cannot be read. Thus the intrinsic meanings of the symbol-strokes are not decipherable but obscured as a kind of hidden code.

In December 2010, Italy ‘s  National Committee for Cultural Heritage  announced that hidden Roman alpha-numeric symbols were discovered in the eyes of the Mona Lisa.

“To the naked eye the symbols are not visible, but with a magnifying glass they can clearly be seen,” said Committee President and art historian Silvano Vinceti. “In the right eye appear to be the letters  LV which could well stand for his name Leonardo Da Vinci, while in the left eye there are also symbols, but they are not as defined,” he said. “It is very difficult to make them out clearly but they appear to be the letters CE or it could be the letter B. You have to remember the picture is almost 500 years old so it is not as sharp and clear as when first painted.”

More symbols were discovered in the three-arched bridge which appears over the left shoulder of the portrait the number 72 or an L and a 2 can also be found.

Historical records show that the three-arched bridge, known as the Ponte Gobbo or Ponte Vecchio (the Old Bridge ), was swept away when the River Trebbia burst its banks. “Leonardo added in the number 72 beneath the bridge to record the devastating flood of the River Trebbia and to allow it to be identified,” said art historian Carla Glori, who sets out the theory in a new book, The Leonardo Enigma.

Da Vinci was keen on symbols and codes to get messages across, and he wanted us to know the identity of the model using the eyes, which he believed were the door to the soul and a means for communication.

“It’s remarkable that no one has noticed these symbols before, and from the preliminary investigations we have carried out we are confident they are not a mistake and were put there by the artist,” Vinceti said.

Genesis Aleph by Judy Rey Wasserman

Strokes = Letters of Genesis 1-2:7

Like Da Vinci, Wasserman also holds that the eyes are a door to the soul, “A door is a two way opening, what the eyes see also go directly to the brain. Art is visual communication that can change our lives. Great art expands our visual vocabulary and the way we see the world.”

While Dan Brown’s best selling book and movie, The Da Vinci Code asserts that there are hidden messages in Da Vinci’s work, those messages were thought to be shown as images not letters or numbers concealed within the art or used as strokes.

Although a 50 year old book found in a musty used book stack in an antiques shop led the experts from Italy ‘s National Cultural Heritage committee to investigate the Mona Lisa for hidden symbols their findings and proofs were not made public until December 2010, over seven years after Wasserman founded her theory.

“I wish I could credit Da Vinci’s work for inspiring this new Twenty-first century art, but really it owes more to my childhood misunderstanding of van Gogh’s strokes as Morse Code, which I cannot read, plus my idea of visually presenting the Genesis 1 theology in relation to elementary physics,” said Wasserman. “Plus of course, Post Conceptual Art is a next step from Conceptual Art, especially Word Art. That is inherent in its name.”

Da Vinci visualized or invented so many of the possibilities made real in the past 100 years such as helicopter-like flying machines, parachutes, armored vehicles, machine guns,  calculators, a rudimentary theory of  plate tectonics and concentrated  solar power.  Now we know he can add one more presaged idea:  painting with unseen symbols as strokes to create an image, which is  Post Conceptual Art.
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One Response to “Did Leonardo Da Vinci Envision Post Conceptual Art?”

  1. Rena Klingenberg Says:

    Wow – that is absolutely fascinating. I’ve always been intrigued by Da Vinci and his many talents. I wonder what other clues and codes he incorporated into his work?

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