Adoration of the Magi Was Intended to Portray the Reestablishment of Paganism
We wouldn’t dream of diminishing the work of any of the great masters on this list, or insist you start enjoying it less. But even great artists are just fallible human beings, which is why we can’t dismiss these theories about their famous work being the result of accidents, trickery, or outright fraud.
Some of the theories on this series will be pretty bizarre, but if you’ve found your way here, you’re probably okay with that. These ideas are rife with speculation; art historians, stick with your books and academic journals. In this article we will talk about famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, “Adoration of the Magi”.
It seems there’s a never-ending supply of conspiracy theories about da Vinci’s work. Adoration of the Magi depicts the Biblical story of the Three Kings bringing gifts to baby Jesus. Art detective Maurizio Seracini believes Adoration of the Magi was sketched by da Vinci, then painted over by someone else. He points to infrared imaging, which reveals under layers of painting, to support his theory.
Seracini found many discrepancies between the finished work and a drawing beneath the oil paint. His most significant finding is that da Vinci’s original sketch contained a bloody battle scene in the background, not something you’d expect to find in a nativity scene. Seracini also believes da Vinci intended to show a ruined Pagan temple being rebuilt in the background.
Conspiracy theorists believe the battle and temple reveal the painting’s true subject matter: the reestablishment of Paganism. Obviously, the Church would not have been okay with this, so it may have commissioned a different artist to paint over the work, thus concealing da Vinci’s intention, (and hence the discrepancies between the top and bottom layers).
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