We have already presented you with some of the most famous paintings that hold secret messages. Researchers of art now know for sure that some of the best artists in history left some mystic traits in their work. We don’t know why they really did it in some cases, but we are sure they had their reasons.
In this article, we will reveal 10 more famous paintings, which consist of secret messages left by their creators. Did you know about these?
The Madonna with Saint Giovannino, Domenico Ghirlandaio
Ghirlandaio depicts the Virgin and Child. At first glance, there is nothing unusual. The picture’s focus is religion, as in the early works of the 15th and 16th centuries. But if you look more closely at the background, you will notice a man who looks at something in the sky. And why does he do that? Look again. There is an unidentified object above with a strange shape that emits a strong light. The Roswell incident of 1947, when a strange aircraft crashed, does not seem to be the only reason for the emergence of theories about UFOs and aliens. Maybe our ancestors knew more than us in this regard. It’s certainly one of the most curious 10 secret messages hidden in famous paintings
Mozart at the Age of 6, Lorenzoni
Lorenzoni made a children’s portrait of Mozart, coinciding with the fragile age at which he began composing. Maybe that’s why he looks much older than an average 6-year-old. Add to that the strange fashion of the 18th century, and it doesn’t look so surprising anymore. Therefore the key is elsewhere. Some researchers suggest that there are secret Masonic signs in the painting (such as Mozart’s hidden hand) that suggest Mozart’s belonging to this society and his place in the hierarchy. It’s one of the most well known cases of artists leaving secret messages in their paintings.
Netherlandish Proverbs, Pieter Bruegel, the Elder
Flemish Renaissance painter Peter Bruegel is probably not as familiar to you as the others included in the article. The work was created in the middle of the 16th century and is a detailed source of life and manners in Flanders at that time. According to the latest census, the picture depicts 125 proverbs, and, likely, there are still undiscovered ones, as many of the scenes contain more than one storyline. Proverbs are related to unattainable goals, stupid actions, and lack of reason prevail. ‘Netherlandish Proverbs’ is owned by the Berlin State Museum.
Arnolfini Portrait, Jan van Eyck
If the picture’s name does not sound familiar to you, remember the intro of the series Desperate Housewives’, which includes various works. It is also known as ‘Arnolfini’s Wedding’, as it is supposed to depict this very moment. Interestingly, Jan van Eyck included his own image in the picture. In addition, witnesses of the newlyweds are seen in the mirror. It is believed that the artist’s image is hidden in it. On the wall behind Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife is written ‘Jan van Eyck was here, 1434’.
The Ambassadors, Hans Holbein Jr.
This 16th-century painting is best known for its hidden skull, which is not really that difficult to spot. It is enough to look from the right angle, and this would probably not take much time given the strange thing at the bottom of the picture. The skull expresses the artistic technique ‘momento mori’ (‘remember that you will die’), which gives an instructive character, reminding us that everything is transient. More observant art critics also notice the broken string of the lute (symbolizing discord), the crucifixion of Jesus in the upper left corner (the division of the church in the time of Henry VIII), and the hidden age of the two ambassadors (the scabbard and the book).
Primavera, Sandro Botticelli
This is one of the most controversial paintings, the idea of which has not been unraveled yet. Six female figures and two male figures are depicted, together with Cupid, in an orange grove. So far, no unifying element has been found between the figures. Botticelli was interested in botany, and he was able to include over 500 different species in his painting, at least 130 of which can be accurately identified. This pastoral painting was a popular decoration for palaces in Europe in the 15th century.
Café Terrace at Night, Vincent van Gogh
Van Gogh is definitely one of the most mysterious artists. Since his father was a priest and he was religious, some experts have argued that the painting is, in fact, a modern reproduction of da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’. There are precisely 12 human figures in the picture, as many as the apostles of Jesus. Besides, the silhouette with the long hair in the middle is in front of a cross, which can be seen in the window frame, and… it looks a lot like Jesus. Arguably Van Gogh is one of the famous artists leaving secret messages in their paintings.
The Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh
Starry Night was painted in 1889 in San Remy, Provence, where van Gogh was in treatment at the time. In his most famous painting, he wants to show that our imagination is so strong that it can create many more amazing landscapes than we can see around us.
The spiral figure in the middle of the picture arouses experts’ curiosity because it is hardly included in Starry Night just for aesthetic effect. According to some researchers, this is an image of the typical Provence wind, called a mistral. In 2004, however, scientists noticed an unknown cosmic phenomenon that was very reminiscent of van Gogh’s painting. After conducting research, they concluded that Starry Night hides one of the most mysterious and rare phenomena – the turbulence of the planets.
The Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dali
For a long time, experts have viewed melting clocks as an expression of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, drafted in 1931. Salvador Dali himself rejected the assumption and said that he was inspired by watching Camembert cheese melt from the sun’s heat. Given the surprises presented to them by Renaissance artists, researchers are apparently accustomed to looking for hidden and deep meaning in everything.
Of course, ‘Persistence of Memory’ is not devoid of symbolism. The three clocks are an expression of the past, present, and future, the object with lashes is a self-portrait of the sleeping Dali (who perceives sleep as a form of death), ants are a symbol of mortality, the sea of immortality and eternity, the egg of life and the mirror of variability.
American Gothic, Grant Wood
Remember again the intro of the series ‘Desperate Housewives’, which also includes a picture of Grant Wood. ‘American Gothic’ was created in 1930. It depicts the typical American Gothic house with the people who should live in it – a farmer and a woman who is probably his wife or daughter. The woman’s clothing is in a colonial-style typical of the 19th century. But if we look more closely at her brooch, we will notice an interesting detail. Hidden in it is the image of Persephone – the queen of the underworld in ancient Greek mythology. According to legend, she was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus and was kidnapped by the God of the underworld, after which she became his wife. The farmer holds a villa in his hands, which makes a reference to Hades’ weapon.
Nothing is as simple as it seems. And artists obviously have an affinity for weaving hidden messages into their works. One thing is for sure – the next time you visit the Louvre or any other museum, your senses will be sharpened and tuned to search for the invisible to the naked eye signs in the paintings.
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