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Last Supper, Not Mary, My proof

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posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 11:29 AM
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I've heard much talk, especially lately, of DaVinci's last supper. There are many theories and many people purporting to be experts making contradictory claims. I believe much of the theories have arisen from books such as The DaVinci code and a lack of understanding of art. As an artist and graphic designer myself I decided I would lend my "expertise" to the arguments. I intend this post to be multi part as I don't have time to go through the enitre painting in one day. I'll start with one of the most prevelant theories, the one stating that the figure seated to the right of Jesus is in fact Mary.

Much has been said about this figure, many have stated that it appears very feminine compared to the other figures. However, it is quite obvious that the face is distorted as the figure is looking downwards. Given that fact I thought it would be easier to discuss the possibility that it is a woman if the face was undistorted and the tonal values of light and shade were repaired. I used the original version painted on the wall in oils. Much of it has deteriorated because of DaVinci's use of oils and so I tried to restore it as best I can.

I'm not sure how many of you reading this have ever taken any art lessons or know anything about proportions of the human face but I won't get into it here, I'll post a link to an explanaition.



I took a high rez picture i found on the internet and cropped it to center on the firgure to Jesus's right. That figure's head is obviously tilted so I cut it and rotated it to be completely vertical. In this position the downward distortion is quite obvious. I then began mapping out certain important nodal points in the anatomy of the figure's head. Namely the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, jaw and their relation to eachother.

The Original Figure


Proportions


Once i had done that it was quite obvious that the mouth was too close to the nose, the mouth should be about halfway between the nose and chin. Realizing this I pulled the mouth down to that position. Because of the perspective and distortion of the face the chin was placed too far to the viewer's right, so I then moved it slightly left. The figure's right cheek then had to be fixed to match the new position of the mouth and chin. The nose then had to be moved slightly left to match the new postioning of the face.

Once I had done that it clearly appeared more masculine. To give the figure more depth I went in and touched up the values of light and shade based on the direction of light determined by DaVinci himself and the rules of how light falls on the human face. So here we have my submission as an answer to the Mary theory of the Last Supper, in my "expert" opinion it is in fact a young male.

The fixed figure

Proper proportions


This doesn't rule out anything about Jesus being married or any of the other theories about the "truth" behind the Jesus story. I wanted to focus solely on the original painting of the Last Supper by DaVinci. I'd love to hear what my fellow ATSers think about my attempt while I work on the rest of the painting.




posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 11:32 AM
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Ah crap!!! I posted this on my girlfriend's computer and it posted under her name, is there anyway I can remedy this?



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 11:52 AM
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decide, I appreciate your efforts and actually what you did for my confusion on the sex of the figure is convince me that it is actually a female. Sorry.

Really looking forward to your further analysis.



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 12:01 PM
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Once i had done that it was quite obvious that the mouth was too close to the nose, the mouth should be about halfway between the nose and chin.


What is your basis for this assertion?



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 12:07 PM
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What it seems like is that you rearranged the face to fit your hypothesis. It still looks like a woman with an more angular face to me though.



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 12:30 PM
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First, let me clear up the fact the it was I, Shadowflux, who did all the work, Decidedly is my girlfriend and I'm staying at her house right now, I forgot to sign her out and sign me in before I posted.

Secondly, let me say that I believe it is nothing more than people thinking it looks like a female. I assume you guys haven't taken any art classes or studied classical art, even if you have I'll write as if you haven't for those that haven't. DaVinci was an expert in human anatomy, he even states in his journals (which I have) that he endeavors to use models as little as possible and relies heavily on his knowledge.

In artistic anatomy there are rules, mostly geometric relations, for instance there is one eye width between both eyes. There are rules governing the length and size of every part of the human body.

This is not neccesarily a portrayle of a model, though he probably used models for some references.

Stalkingwolf: My basis for this assertion is natural human facial proportions, as you can see in my diagram I mapped out certain reference points on the face of the figure and compared their relation to eachother. The head is obviously tilted down, due to perspective this makes the mouth appear closer to the nose than it should be. As I said before, the mouth should be about halfway between the nose and chin. Since it was not half way between the nose and chin it needed to be changed to remove the downward facing perspective in order to view an undistoreted version of the face.

Craft: I actually had no hypothesis, I'm being impartial here and offering my "expert" opinion. I am a professional artist and graphic designer, this is my field of expertise so I thought I'd lend a hand to the discussion. If I were to have any hypothesis it would be more along the lines of Jesus having married, being the King of Judea as a political title, and the water to wine story being indicative of a wedding. However, I don't think DaVinci painted John as a female. I simply followed the rules of anatomy, perspective, and proportion to reach the final picture shown.

My theory in regard to DaVinci is that he was far more interested in science and the world around him than he was in mysticism, religion, or heretical conspiracies. The reason why he painted so many religious paintings is because of the time he lived in and because of who was paying him. Leonardo himself would tell you the same. He says in his journals "...there is a difference between work you get paid a lot for and work you get paid little for.." I'm paraphrasing of course lol



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 06:03 PM
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Wow that was a lot of work - thanks for the effort you put into it -- I have to say though that I still see a woman - just a woman more equal to in age to Jesus than the original picture would have been.

My one thought on everyone saying that it is a young man -- just how young was he supposed to be to have no beard at all -- or do young men just mature really early now? I know young men in their early teens who have hair growth - maybe not a full beard but a start of one.



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 06:20 PM
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Originally posted by Shadowflux
Ah crap!!! I posted this on my girlfriend's computer and it posted under her name, is there anyway I can remedy this?

Nope, now if this thread gets popular your girlfriend gets all the credit.

Jk, I don't know, you could've just edited out the post and reposted it under your name though.



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 07:06 PM
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Originally posted by Shadowflux
Secondly, let me say that I believe it is nothing more than people thinking it looks like a female. I assume you guys haven't taken any art classes or studied classical art, even if you have I'll write as if you haven't for those that haven't. DaVinci was an expert in human anatomy, he even states in his journals (which I have) that he endeavors to use models as little as possible and relies heavily on his knowledge.


Shadowflux, you might be assuming a little prematurely. I have an MFA and I think that the figure looks like a female because DaVinci wanted it to look like a
female and he did a fine job of making it look like a female. Why do you want it to be a male so bad? Anything to do with your beliefs in a religious context?



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 07:08 PM
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Oh well, it's our anniversary today (6/6/06 lol) so we'll call it an anniversary present


When I finish the rest of the work I'll make sure to post under my name.

Justme1640: I actually don't know what age John is supposed to be, I think the fact that he has no beard is more symbolic of his young age. Remember that the classical painters used symbols heavily. John is also not the only one portayed without a beard in the original wall painting, unless I'm mistaken due to the deterioration of the oil paint over all those years. I'll show more in my subsequent posts Also, I know it may appear to be a femal but it doesn't appear to be a classical female in the style DaVinci would've painted.



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 09:05 PM
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Originally posted by whaaa

Originally posted by Shadowflux
Secondly, let me say that I believe it is nothing more than people thinking it looks like a female. I assume you guys haven't taken any art classes or studied classical art, even if you have I'll write as if you haven't for those that haven't. DaVinci was an expert in human anatomy, he even states in his journals (which I have) that he endeavors to use models as little as possible and relies heavily on his knowledge.


Shadowflux, you might be assuming a little prematurely. I have an MFA and I think that the figure looks like a female because DaVinci wanted it to look like a
female and he did a fine job of making it look like a female. Why do you want it to be a male so bad? Anything to do with your beliefs in a religious context?


Well, firstly you weren't part of the conversation before now and secondly we haven't all had the oppurtunity to recieve a MFA. Besides, having an MFA doesn't make you a better artist. As I said before I was writting for those who haven't taken any art classes.

If you think it looks like a woman then you have a right to think that way but it's still opinion. There're no evidence anywhere that DaVinci would've done somthing like paint a woman into the last supper, he wasn't stupid, he would've been burned at the stake for somthing like that.

It may look like a modern woman but it has no resemblence to the classical femal form. I take it that you've seen plenty of DaVinci's works in your course to your beloved MFA, his portayals of John are often quite feminine to illustrate his youth.

And no, I'm not trying to distort any facts to help further my agenda. I have no agenda. I'm not a Christian, I've never been a member of a church, I've never even been baptised. I'm not Jewish, or Hindu, or Buddhist or anything though I've attended services in all those, even Islam. I've just loved DaVinci's works all my life and thought I would lend my knowledge and skills to the discussion. It seemed that there was much discussion of this painting but little actual knowledge of art or the classical era.

DaVinci would not have risked his life to do somthing like paint a woman into the last supper when he wasn't all that interested in religion. Sure, he was a great artist but he was almost more of a scientist than anything else. His notebooks are full of observations of the natural world and hardly any mention of the religious world.

Why is everyone claiming I have some agenda? Why am I being accused of being a Christian like it's a slur? Why are you so adamant to accuse me of being a religious man? Perhaps you just don't like any evidence or theories that don't support your own. Why would DaVinci want to portray John as Mary? What evidence would lead him to think that way? Why would he even care? What evidence do you have to support your claim that he intentionally painted a female?



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 09:15 PM
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Originally posted by Shadowflux
DaVinci was an expert in human anatomy, he even states in his journals (which I have) that he endeavors to use models as little as possible and relies heavily on his knowledge.

This is not neccesarily a portrayle of a model, though he probably used models for some references.

Leonardo used models for 'important' works such as the Last Supper. Either live or from previous sketches.


Since it was not half way between the nose and chin it needed to be changed to remove the downward facing perspective in order to view an undistoreted version of the face.

But now you've changed the face--even if you don't intend to--it cannot be just a different perspective on the same face DaVinci painted--because you do not have the model to go by. Our faces follow a formula, yes--but at different angles different prominences, etc seem to be more noticeable and vice versa. You can't transpose a face like that and expect to get a different accurate view of the same face.

Besides that--how does changing the face's perspective help us to recognize gender?

Especially when the fact remains that whether or not DaVinci intended this person in this painting to be male or female, we can be sure that the model was a male. It was either a youthful male (if a woman or an effeminate John was intended) or a mature one (if a man was intended)--either way it was a man! Surely you know this, with your background.

My question is this: does the male face differ in artistic proportion from the female's?
Does the body?



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 09:21 PM
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Well first off let me say that you did do a wonderful job doing the reconstruction. But having said that I must point out that you cannot prove your theory upon a subject by altering the original document. And how is it that you came to the conclusion that the mouth must be moved?
Peace
Mr Mx



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 09:30 PM
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Originally posted by Shadowflux
DaVinci would not have risked his life to do somthing like paint a woman into the last supper when he wasn't all that interested in religion.

Why not? Michaelangelo painted a couple of obscene gestures and other mockeries into his work at the Sistine Chapel--of course too high for the Cardinals et al to notice--if they had, he'd have been in trouble for sure. Was in and out of trouble with those guys, anyway.

These renaissance men were far too intelligent to be religious. That doesn't mean they didn't have opinions of the Church and that doesn't mean they could ignore the Church. They lived 'next door' to the Vatican, so to speak. And their scorn for the ignorance of the leaders of the church has been known to leak out into their artwork that was quite frequently commissioned from this institution--they knew those leaders were far too blind to even notice, anyway. If not for the church they probably would have really been a lot worse off, money-wise. As it was they were literally starving artists.

But the idea of DaVinci wanting to stay in good favor politically/religiously as a rationale to support his not doing something unexpected is unfounded--it doesn't prove or disprove it and I think it was right along the lines of what those artists liked to do in those days. I'm not supporting what the DaVinci code says--that it was a deliberate plot to secret away info for later discovery--just that maybe if Leonardo thought or even knew something that was contradictory to the falsehood promoted by the Clergy, then he wouldn't have hesitated to include it subtly in his work that they had hired him to create. It would be more like a practical joke that helped lessen the sting these geniuses might have felt when having to work for these religious snobs who usually treated these artists as if they were alley-cats, anyway--yet the artists had to eat.



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 09:45 PM
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Shadow dude relax. But you did post as the title "Last Supper, Not Mary, My proof". I don't see how you did prove it wasn't Mary. I'm not saying it is Mary also btw. I'm neutral on this.



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 10:27 PM
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You make some good points Queenannie so before I rebut I’d like to state a few things.

I didn’t have a solid opinion as to the sex of the John figure before I started, I now believe it to be a male because of the work I’ve done.

I changed the perspective on the face because the distortion caused by the downward facing position left the mouth, nose and chin in an awkward position. I thought that if it were more of front on view those with less anatomical and artistic knowledge would have an easier time judging for themselves.




Leonardo used models for 'important' works such as the Last Supper. Either live or from previous sketches.



Yes, he used models for quite a few things and quite often, however, he did not use them in the same way artists these days use them. These days artists will photograph a model and often times trace the photograph to achieve the photo realistic quality. When you look at the original painting, the fluidity of the bodies is not indicative of a model. In fact, such fluidity could only be obtained by a ballet dancer or equally graceful dancer. When DaVinci used models he used them for reference, to reference mass and the movement of certain masses in relation to the rest of the body, not as a copy. He did not have 13 people seated at a table for years on end.




But now you've changed the face--even if you don't intend to--it cannot be just a different perspective on the same face DaVinci painted--because you do not have the model to go by.


True, I’ve repositioned the face but I haven’t changed it, the measurements and proportions are still the same as you can see in the diagrams. Our faces follow certain formulae, but I think we’re talking about two different types of formulae. The one I refer to is that of classical anatomy, they are rather mathematical and rigid rules. It was by using these rules that I obtain my final product. I’m not proposing that this is exactly as the face would appear in real life, I’m simply saying that when the perspective distortion is removed the features appear far more masculine than before.




My question is this: does the male face differ in artistic proportion from the female's?


Yes it does. The difference between the male and female face in artistic proportions is quite subtle but very noticeable. Generally the female’s nose is thinner and daintier, the eyes are usually larger than a males, and the chin and cheek much rounder and softer. A male’s face is usually constructed from more angular geometric shapes while the female’s face is constructed from rounder shapes. When compared side to side the females head is generally smaller but the distances between reference points is generally the same percentage as in the males.

As for the body there are many more differences. Starting at the top: the female’s neck is much smaller in circumference and less muscular, her shoulders are smoother, more flat and less wide than a male’s. Her chest is not as wide and smaller in circumference. The female’s waist is much smaller in diameter than that of the male and her body does not taper down like a male’s. Generally a female’s hips are shown as about the same width as her shoulders whereas a male’s hips are generally smaller in width than the shoulders. Over all the female body is shown as a good half a head or more shorter than the male’s.




But the idea of DaVinci wanting to stay in good favor politically/religiously as a rationale to support his not doing something unexpected is unfounded--it doesn't prove or disprove it and I think it was right along the lines of what those artists liked to do in those days.


That’s somewhat a distortion of what I was trying to say. Everything I’ve read has shown DaVinci to be a wise, rational, and deliberate man. He was compensated quite well for works such as the Last Supper and I believe he would wish to stay in their good graces in hopes of being equally well compensated for another work. As an artist DaVinci was a professional, he didn’t do work for someone if they didn’t pay him, and the quality of his work was directly proportional to the size of his compensation, he says so himself.

I don’t believe DaVinci knew any special secrets about the story of Jesus. Much of what we state as evidence against the classical story of Jesus comes from discoveries and theories that have been made since the late 1400s. DaVinci would not have been privileged to anything amazing and I doubt he would have taken anything at face value.

If DaVinci painted a female into the last supper than I would think he did it as a joke. However I still can’t see any rationale for him do something like this. There is no evidence that he believed anything different from what the church would say, there is no evidence that he was privy to ancient secrets. There is no reason what so ever for a man of his learning, talent, and standing to risk everything on a secret no one will figure out over 600 years later. I believe that if DaVinci wanted to tell us something he would’ve written it down clear as day and it would be an accepted fact right now.



posted on Jun, 7 2006 @ 12:53 AM
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I would disagree with your half way assertion. I am more inclined towards the divine proprotion. Nose-mouth : Nose - chin, 1: 1.618



posted on Jun, 7 2006 @ 01:02 AM
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Last Supper-Da Vinci Code
This is a link to the prevailing thread on this subject, on which I contributed my own opinions and research. Shadowflux, I believe you even posted your findings there. For those of you who do not wish to reference the thread, below is the image that seemed to settle this issue most, in my mind anyway.

This is the painting, John the Baptist, also by Da Vinci. While this is obviously not the same John portrayed in the Last Supper, you can clearly see how Da Vinci would have depicted young males. The biggest question in my mind is, if Mary was truly the person depicted on the side of Christ, where was the last of the diciples, John? I only count eleven if you exclude this figure.



posted on Jun, 7 2006 @ 01:10 AM
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I am loving this debate, very interesting indeed!



posted on Jun, 7 2006 @ 01:59 AM
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When looking at the proportions of her/his face, you are assuming that her jaw is clenched. That would be the only time that you could really overlay the "law of four's or five's" or whatever your art teacher(s) chose to call it. Yes the human face has a predictable set of proportions under the pretense that the mouth is in it's closed position.

I am only assuming here but, it would appear that our mystery girl/guy is conversing with the person to his/her right. We could guess that his/her jaw may be open if this is true. Even if she is not talking to him, think about this, how much of the time do YOU have your upper and lower teeth together? When I am relaxed I don't think mine ever are.

OR I coulld be totally off and if that's the case I am starting a "Mary has an underbite and here's the proof" thread




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