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Secrets Behind 7 of the Most Famous Paintings of all Time

 The great painters from centuries past left behind creations that are eternal stamps of their legacy. Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Van Gogh, to name but a few, are names that many of us know and whose painting are easily recognizable, but there is definitely more to these paintings than meets the eye. Some of the best-known artists of all time have left secrets in their works that can only be uncovered under close examination. Below are seven such fascinating secrets that will surprise you and show you how their artists were groundbreaking in their thought and work.


1. The Brain Behind “The Creation”

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The works of the Sistine Chapel in Italy are famous the world over, and when you see them, hundreds of years after their creation, you'll understand why. In these intricate frescoes, the painter Michelangelo described decisive moments in the Bible and the New Testament, and also hid some surprising things in them.

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In a painting in which God touches a man and gives him the spark of life, there is a cloak behind him that resembles the shape of a human brain! Researchers have even found an artery and the pituitary gland in this unique depiction, and there is much speculation about the reason behind this strange addition. Many scholars argue that the mind represents the knowledge that the Creator gave to Adam, but a more popular theory is that Michelangelo slyly used this painting to protest against the Catholic church, that refused to advance with science at the time.

2. Naughty Angels

Another painting in the Sistine chapel holds a rather cheeky secret. Michelangelo has a strong message for the man who commissioned the work, Pope Julius II. Julius wasn’t particularly popular, and tension between him and Michelangelo is well documented. The artist decided to express his strong feelings for the Pope in this eternal painting, in which he portrays the Pope in effigy as the prophet Zechariah, with two angels behind him.

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If you take a closer look you can see one of the adorable little angles making a hand gesture, one that is called ‘the fig’. This gesture is actually an old world middle finger equivalent which has been ingeniously blended into the painting.

3. The Stamp of the Mona Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci has hidden quite a few secrets in his famous works, which have even been documented in the series of books and films by Dan Brown - "Angels and Demons" and "The Da Vinci Code".
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In his most famous painting, Da Vinci decided to sign his name in a special way that cannot be seen by the naked eye. In Mona Lisa’s left eye you can see Da Vinci’s initials (LV), but only when you look at it under a microscope.

4. Botticelli’s Botanical World

Renowned Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli painted beautiful and colorful paintings during his lifetime, such as "The Birth of Venus," which is well preserved at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
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Because the artist had a strong fondness for plants, they were always added to his paintings in a very colorful and complex way. In his painting "Primavera," the botanist incorporated no fewer than 500 different species of plants in such a realistic manner that it allowed scientists to identify them many years later.

5. The Hidden Skull in the Room

The Bavarian painter Hans Holbein is not well known to most of us, but he is famous in the art world thanks to his special works during the Renaissance. In Holbein's painting, "The Ambassadors," we see two men and, at first glance, it's hard to pick up on anything unusual.
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However, if you look at the bottom of the picture, in the middle of the page, you'll find that Holbein worked in a drawing of a skull that is tilted sideways in a special optical illusion. It's hard to see this skull if you do not focus on it, but once you notice the unique detail, it's definitely hard to ignore.
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6. Van Gogh’s Last Supper

The Last Supper, which depicts Jesus surrounded by his 12 apostles on the evening on which he announced that one of them would betray him, is one of Da Vinci's most famous works and it has been extensively discussed in artistic and religious circles.
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Researchers say that Vincent Van Gogh's painting, "Cafe Terrace at Night," actually recreates the famous painting by Da Vinci in another form. In Van Gogh's painting, you can see a long-haired figure standing up, surrounded by other figures - a total of 12. Behind the long-haired figure, identified as Jesus, there is a lighted window adorned with a cross, and it's believed that Van Gogh, who was religious, included hidden elements from the original supper painting because of his beliefs.
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7. Musical Bread at Jesus’ Last Supper

There was a lot of talk around Da Vinci's painting that included finding clues to Jesus’ future following his death and even a hint at the end of the world. One of the most special findings reveals an unconventional secret about this painting that will surprise many of you.
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Italian musician Giovanni Maria Pala found that a 40-second tune was embedded in the painting that could not be spotted without musical expertise. When you draw 5 parallel horizontal lines, as on a stave, and connect between the hands of the apostles and the slices of bread on the table, you get musical notes! Reading and playing these characters from right to left creates a 40-second tune that is a special secret hidden by the greatest painter in the world.
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image source: Dennis Jarvis
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