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#348042 - 01/20/09 07:28 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Grrr82CU Offline
Companion

Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 100
Loc: Chicago, IL
What did the earliest painters who attempted to copy Leonardo's "The Last Supper" have to work with? Was the painting perhaps a little faded but all detail still quite recognizable - or - did they have to guess and paint more than observe and paint?

Right-click on Leonardo's picture below to review a picture of his painting that even in our modern era was seriously degraded. Examine carefully the "face" of the disciple in question to Jesus' right, the one da Vinci Code theorists claim is Mary Magdalene.

In the picture of "The Last Supper" that will be displayed, note especially the general decomposition of the "face" of the disciple to Jesus' right - and in particular - are the eyes open or closed ??

Originally Posted By: Right-click on Leonardo's Picture
http://s380.photobucket.com/albums/oo246/Grrr82CU/?action=view&current=Leonardo-Self-Portrait.gif][color:#FFFFFF]http://s380.photobucket.com/albums/oo246/Grrr82CU/?action=view&current=Leonardo-Self-Portrait.gif][/url]


Now - once again right-click on the picture of Leonardo below. In this next picture of "The Last Supper" which is also in decline (but at a different time) - are the same eyes of the same disciple open or closed ??

(Note that after this picture displays it may be "ZOOMED" 1x for a better look by right-clicking on it again)

Originally Posted By: Right-click on Leonardo's Picture
http://s380.photobucket.com/albums/oo246/Grrr82CU/?action=view&current=Leonardo-Self-Portrait.gif][color:#FFFFFF]http://s380.photobucket.com/albums/oo246/Grrr82CU/?action=view&current=Leonardo-Self-Portrait.gif][/url]


That's right! The eyes are closed in picture one but open in picture two.

Somewhere along the way - because of the poor state of the painting - because they had to guess at what Leonardo had painted - someone changed the painting during a restoration process.

So - what else did one (or more) of the many painters over the centuries change because they could not make out what the great master had originally painted because only faint colors and outlines remained at the time of their attempts to paint or restore it?

Retrieve again the first painting and look at the "face" of the disciple in question. The right eye, the nose, the mouth and chin are obliterated !! An artist trying to restore those features would have no choice but to guess at what Leonardo originally painted there. Sure he or she could probably come close - but is that good enough when the identity of the disciple is so much in question?

Again - the clear evidence provided by the painting itself is one of alteration, one time the painting displayes the eyes of the disciple as being open, another time closed. Neither "Teabing" nor we are seeing Leonardo's painting, only shadows of it's orginal "self" and even that we cannot be sure originated with him beyond basic outlines and a flake of color here and a flake of color there.

Consider this when examining the decomposed state of the "face" in question:

The "features" of the disciple in question may or they may not be "feminine". Even in the modern-day picture of example one, it is impossible to tell and since Leonardo was of the Florentine School - what restoring artist would not have intentionally painted "feminine" features instead of more masculine ones in guessing how Leonardo might have painted the face in the spirit of The Florentine School's tradition ??

There simply were no copies painted, not even the one maintained at the Tongerlo Abbey since 1545 and a copy by Giovan Pietro Rizzoli completed in 1549, that accurately portray exactly what Leonardo had painted. Both of these copies themselves were made at the earliest only seven years before the painting was declared "unrecognizable" in 1556 by Leonardo's biographer Giorgio Vasari (1511 – 1574).

Clearly - basing claims that the disciple to Jesus' right is Mary Magdalene because the figure "looks" feminine is simply not a sustainable argument. The painting was in such an advanced stage of decomposition by the time even the first copies were attempted, arguing today that the disciple was "feminine" is as flawed as the centuries of failed and botched attempts at restoration have been.

Again - go back and look at example number one. If the painting was that deteriorated in relatively modern times (yet is still more or less "recognizable") - how much less likely that a painting in an even more deterioated state and declared "unrecognizable" has the "face" and "hint of a bosom" even remotely restored close to what Leonardo originally painted? Highly doubtful given the evidence.

Finally - is the coup d’état to the "da Vinci Code" argument regarding the identity of the disciple to Jesus' immediate right, the one Leonardo clearly did not mean for us to interpret as leaning away from him but leaning toward Peter, the one to whom Mary Magdalene ran to announce Jesus' body was missing from the tomb - is the "gender" assigned to that dicsiple by Leonardo himself to be found buried in his notes ???

The answer when time permits - and Grrr82CU smile




Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:24 PM)
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#348075 - 01/21/09 04:49 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


True Blue Soulmate

Registered: 12/16/04
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Loc: UK
On that basis, then, as far as the detail is concerned, 'The Last Supper' is hardly worth spending any time on at all ~ it's not now his work and no-one knows what it originally looked like or what he intended. frown smile
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#348096 - 01/21/09 07:28 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Grrr82CU Offline
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Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 100
Loc: Chicago, IL
Just as a point of reference (not to infer the following statement by this writer is the one to which PDM referred as quoted)

Originally Posted By: This Writer, #348042 - 01/20/09
Again - go back and look at example number one. If the painting was that deteriorated in relatively modern times (yet is still more or less "recognizable") - how much less likely that a painting in an even more deterioated state and declared "unrecognizable" has the "face" and "hint of a bosom" even remotely restored close to what Leonardo originally painted? Highly doubtful given the evidence
.
Originally Posted By: PDM, #348075 - 01/21/09
On that basis, then, as far as the detail is concerned, 'The Last Supper' is hardly worth spending any time on at all ~ it's not now his work and no-one knows what it originally looked like or what he intended.

.Just to validate that point - consider the following excerpts from a report based upon comments by Carlo Bertelli, Director of the Istituto Centrale del Restauro and follow-up comments by other experts. Please note that the use of underline, bold text or color was added by this writer for emphasis. Elided sections and/or quotes, some of which appear as individual paragraphs, was done either for the sake clarity or brevity given the length of report**).

Originally Posted By: Museum Security Network Organization
"LEONARDO da Vinci's celebrated masterpiece, The Last Supper, is a ruined painting with only 20 per cent of the original work surviving, according to the man who commissioned its 20-year restoration. The admission, months before the unveiling of the restored painting, comes from Carlo Bertelli who, as director of the Istituto Centrale del Restauro, had declared the restoration's aim to be the discovery of the "real painting".

Originally Posted By: Museum Security Network Organization
"Jacques Franck, consultant restorer to the Louvre and a Leonardo scholar, is among the restorers' sternest critics: "Ninety per cent of the work has disappeared , and the fact that you repaint 90 per cent is to me something that has not much sense."

"He spoke of the shock of seeing that nothing was left of the head of Christ, for example: any repainting cannot be faithful to Leonardo's intentions as we do not know what those intentions were, he said. "Pinin has done the best she could, but is it the best that could be done?" Instead, they have "transferred it into something else" – a 20th-century Leonardo.

Originally Posted By: Museum Security Network Organization
""This programme is a victory for anti-restoration," said Mr Daley* … "She [Pinin Brambilla Barcilon] has destroyed the historical thread of the painting and reduced it to a bare, confused wall. She produced a blank slate and then set about repainting the whole thing herself. Her own repainting has been particularly unfortunate in her reworking of the face of Christ because it's apparent that she's remade the image according to a drawing in the Brere Museum of -a beardless Christ, not a bearded Christ, which may or may not be by Leonardo".

( * Clarification by this writer, the reference was to Michael Daley, Director of ArtWatch UK, an "organization that campaigns for restraint in the restoration of works of art")

The real issue is, therefore, that all of the buzz and speculation about the identity of the disciple to Jesus' being Mary Magdalene being based upon a combination of Dan's Brown fictional novel as well as the well documented flawed and most likely fanciful "restored" facial and anatomical features to that disciple's image - is simply not supported by the facts.

Think about it -if the entire "head of Christ" was obliterated and had to be recreated (some with a beard, some without a beard), on what basis are the statements valid that assure us the disciple to his right is Mary Magdalene (because the image appears "feminine") and is not the youthful Apostle John ??

Simply stated - such assurances are not valid. They cannot be.

The disciple inclining his ear toward Peter to hear what he had to say, the disciple whom Jesus loved, the disciple to whom Mary Magdalene ran to announce that Jesus' body was not in the tomb - is John the Apostle, not Mary Magdalene the disciple.

Still to come - a finishing entry revealing from Leonardo's own notes what he had to say regarding the figure to Jesus' right.

...and Grrr82CU smile


(** The full report by the Museum Security Organization may be viewed at http://www.museum-security.org/reports/08498.html).


Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:24 PM)
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#348132 - 01/21/09 11:16 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


True Blue Soulmate

Registered: 12/16/04
Posts: 22788
Loc: UK
Because of the experimental methods used by Leonardo, 'The Last Supper' started to deteriorate much sooner than a traditional fresco would have.
Quote:
'... the Last Supper is now but a shadow of its former self as it would have appeared on completion in 1497. A combination of the unorthodox painting techniques employed by Leonardo, the pervading dampness of the refectory wall and repeated programmes of restoration that began as early as 1517, have all contributed to the substantial deterioration of the painting.
http://www.universalleonardo.org/work.php?id=310'

Quote:
'Leonardo ..chose to seal the stone wall with a layer of pitch (resin) gesso (powdered calcium carbonate) and mastic (from the evergreen shrub), then paint onto the sealing layer with tempera (egg tempera a type of artist's paint)'
http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/The_Last_Supper_(Leonardo)

Quote:
Leonardo da Vinci. The Last Supper. c.1495-1498
http://www.abcgallery.com/L/leonardo/leonardo4.html

If the work was not finished until around 1498, then one assumes that, even if the quality of the finish was not as good as it should have been, it should have been recognisable, at least, for a few years.

Copies were made.

But when?

Giampietrino apparently worked with Leonardo and did apparently copy his works ~ and he seems to have been responsible for some early copies of this piece.
Quote:
'One of the ways we know what the details were is from a contemporary copy that is attributed to Giampietrino who was a devotee of Leonardo's work.'
http://www.catholicbookwriter.com/dv_qa.htm
http://www.catholicbookwriter.com/images/dv/Giampietrino.jpgw

Quote:
Last Supper (copy after Leonardo) c1515-20
'This is one of two large-scale early copies on canvas of Leonardo’s Last Supper, which is almost the width of the original fresco.'

'Nothing is known of its origin, patron, date of execution or intended location. It was first mentioned .. in 1626 ....'
' ... the current attribution to Giampetrino (Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli), who was a talented assistant of Leonardo’s in Milan, is now generally accepted.'

'It is possible that Giampietrino may have assisted Leonardo in painting the original Last Supper in the Refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie. His copy may provide a record of some of the details now lost in the original fresco ....'
http://www.universalleonardo.org/work.php?id=572
http://www.universalleonardo.org/worklar...ount=&name=

Quote:
Giampietrino (notices 1508 — 1521) possibly Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli, (documented from 1495 to 1549), was a north Italian painter of the Lombard school and the Leonardo circle, succinctly characterized by S.J. Freedberg as an "exploiter of Leonardo's repertory."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giampietrino

It is apparently believed that Giampietrino painted his copies around 1515-20, which is about the time that 'The Last Supper' was described as 'starting to flake'. In the circumstances, maybe he wanted to record them, while they were still in relatively good order. Maybe the fact that Leonardo died around this time is somehow relevant.
Quote:
'As early as 1517 the painting was starting to flake. By 1556—less than sixty years after it was finished — Leonardo's biographer Giorgio Vasari described the painting as already "ruined" and so deteriorated that the figures were unrecognizable ..'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Supper_(Leonardo)

Quote:
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci
Dates: April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci

I cannot find a note of who painted the Tongerlo copy ~ perhaps no-one knows??? ~ or when, but it must have been before 1545, because the abbey claims to have had it in its possession since then, and that is less than fifty years after Leonardo's 'Last Supper' was completed, and a decade before it was deemed 'ruined'.
Quote:
'Since 1545 our abbey is in the possession of a remarkable work of art: the most faithful and the most beautiful replica of the 'Last Supper' ..'
http://www.tongerlo.org/da_vinci/davinci_home.htm#Since
http://members.lycos.nl/guiver/hpbimg/Tongerlo%20laatste%20avondmaal.JPG

Quote:
'By 1556—less than sixty years after it was finished — Leonardo's biographer Giorgio Vasari described the painting as already "ruined" and so deteriorated that the figures were unrecognizable ..'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Supper_(Leonardo)


If we look at Giampietrino's 'The Last Supper' at Magdalen College:
http://flickr.com/photos/10544602@N02/916088645
http://www.robots.ox.ac.uk/~rcasero/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/The_Last_Supper_(1495-1498)_copy.jpg

And the Tongerlo 'Last supper':
http://members.lycos.nl/guiver/hpbimg/Tongerlo%20laatste%20avondmaal.JPG
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_GzQnzaF4k-o/RbpNPoqNQRI/AAAAAAAABK0/PaFzbAc7qxA/s1600-h/7lastsup++copy.jpg

We find that they are very similar.
Is that because one is a copy of the other, or because they are both copies of Leonardo's original?
And how much have they been altered by restoration over the years?
Can we or can we not say, with some degree of certainty, that these paintings represent something very close to Leonardo's original?
I am no expert, but I do not see why not.
Other copies are considered to be close to the original.

This 'Leda' is considered to be a decent copy of a Leonardo original:
http://www.en.utexas.edu/amlit/gifs/leda_vinci.jpg

And this is Giampietrino's version:
http://www.lost-leonardo.com/imagz/leda_giam.jpg

What do the faces of 'John ' look like on these copies?

Well, to me, they look like the Madonnas in the 'Virgin of the Rocks' paintings:

“Virgin of the Rocks” by Leonardo da Vinci, displayed in the Louvre, Paris.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/Virgin_of_the_Rocks.jpg

“Virgin of the Rocks” by Leonardo da Vinci, National Gallery, London.
http://www.nd.edu/~agutting/VirginRocks.jpg

I have no idea whether or not Leonardo was portraying the beloved disciple as a female, but I wouldn't discount it.
Yes, he painted effeminate-looking young men, but why should the model for beloved disciple look like the model for the virgin Mary?

Anyway, whatever Leonardo thought about the matter, that doesn't mean that he was correct. The Bible does indicate that the 'beloved disciple' was male. However, I have read interpretations where the writer felt that the text may have been manipulated to hide an unsavoury truth. I am hoping to find that.

And, of course, not only can we not rely on a painting that has changed over hundreds of years, but we cannot rely on writings that have changed over thousands of years and which had an agenda in the first place.

It is a truly fascinating subject, but I doubt that we shall ever know the full truth smile


Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:24 PM)
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#348263 - 01/21/09 07:02 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Grrr82CU Offline
Companion

Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 100
Loc: Chicago, IL
Once again PDM has provided a great variety of resources to consider - however -

Originally Posted By: PDM, #348132 - 01/21/09
"Can we or can we not say, with some degree of certainty, that these paintings represent something very close to Leonardo's original? I am no expert, but I do not see why not. Other copies are considered to be close to the original.

With respect - does this not beg the question:

If all of these "very close to Leonardo's original" copies of "The Last Supper" are faithful copies or restorations - then why the dispair among the high ranking art experts previously quoted by this writer that there is nothing which serves as a credible model for restorative purposes that is believed to actually represent what Leonardo originally painted ??

Compare carefully all of the reference materials and quotations provided by PDM with this writer's references and quotations in Post #348096.

Note that while the links provided by PDM are from responsible sources and all claim in different ways that whatever work to which they refer is an accurate representation of Leonardo's "The Last Supper" as he originally painted it - the fact remains that none of those sources quote art experts of the reputation and status to substantiate their claims comparable to those provided by this writer in Post #348096 - which clearly document the fact that from what remains of Leonardo's "The Last Supper", no restoration of it can be said to accurately reflect more than ten percent (at best) of what he originally painted.

Let us ask the question in another way....

To assure fealty to Leonardo in restoring "The Last Supper" as he painted it, if all these copies referenced by PDM are such close representations of what he originally painted - why not just consult Giampietrino's copy and/or journey to the Tongerlo Abby and/or compare any other copy from the period of these early copies (or later, including restorations) and authorize the commission to restore what Leonardo originally painted to be based upon them?

Why – if all of these copies and restorations are so accurate – why aren’t they good enough to merit confidence that the end result of any restoration would be so close to what Leonardo originally painted that any deficiency would be negligible as far as the art and historical-preservation world is concerned ??

The answer is simple.

To the art restoration authority and expert who was placed in charge and believed it was possible to return the painting to near its original state, to the consultant for the Louvre and a Leonardo scholar, to the Director of Artwatch, UK, and others not cited, there simply are no known copies of Leonardo's "The Last Supper" (regardless of age or condition) that are considered reliable representations of his original work of sufficient merit to be used in reconstructing either his intentions or restoring what he actually painted.

And finally...

Originally Posted By: PDM, Post #348132
I have no idea whether or not Leonardo was portraying the beloved disciple as a female, but I wouldn't discount it. Yes, he painted effeminate-looking young men, but why should the model for beloved disciple look like the model for the virgin Mary? Anyway, whatever Leonardo thought about the matter, that doesn't mean that he was correct.

(Color added by this writer to create a specific reference point)

Apparently some misunderstanding has occurred regarding what this writer said in asking the question "could the gender of the disciple in question be buried in Leonardo's notes?" (paraphrased).

Please review the preceding post on this point.

This question was not meant to be understood as if this writer was suggesting Leonardo said something in his notes that conflicted with the NT account of "The Last Supper", the question was to position the possiblity of an answer as forthcoming in a future post.

Do Leonardo's personal notes reveal his intentions as to what was going to be painted, gender-specific, when he discusses how the disciple in question will appear in his painting ??

...and that answer...is still going to be reserved for a another post when time permits.

...and Grrr82CU smile


Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:24 PM)
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#348290 - 01/22/09 04:05 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


True Blue Soulmate

Registered: 12/16/04
Posts: 22788
Loc: UK
There is such a lot of information, etc, here, but I'll start with this:
Originally Posted By: Grrr82CU
... while the links provided by PDM are from responsible sources and all claim in different ways that whatever work to which they refer is an accurate representation of Leonardo's "The Last Supper" as he originally painted it - the fact remains that none of those sources quote art experts of the reputation and status to substantiate their claims comparable to those provided by this writer in Post #348096 - which clearly document the fact that from what remains of Leonardo's "The Last Supper", no restoration of it can be said to accurately reflect more than ten percent (at best) of what he originally painted.

I know that there has been criticism of the restoration, but, all the same, the restorers must have respect from high quarters to have been allowed to do this work:
Quote:
Pinin Brambilla Barcilon has conducted this latest restoration of Leonardo's Last Supper under the auspices of Milan's Superintendent for Artistic and Historic Heritage. She is a renowned restoration artist who made use of various new technologies to bring life back into Leonardo's masterpiece.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/LeonardoLastSupper.htm


This is what the restorers felt:
Quote:
Given the radical decay of the masterpiece, the Milan consultants opted for an equally radical solution: to remove centuries of additions, fixatives and repaintings in an attempt to arrive at what was left of Leonardo's original work. The decision would either reveal a dramatically different image than the one that had been seen for centuries or reduce "The Last Supper" to a few isolated streaks of fading color.

"I was certain that there was enough beneath the additional materials to warrant this restoration," says Carlo Bertelli, the former Milan superintendent of art who originally authorized the project in the late 1970's. "Mrs. Brambilla and I had examined the surface with a microscope, and we were surprised to see how much of Leonardo's original work remained. There were also several cleaning trials, with extremely encouraging results."

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.ht...;pagewanted=all


John after cleaning trials & restoration:
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Images/Chicago/barcilon_john2.gif
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/504271_john.html
From the book by the restorer Pinin Brambilla Barcilon and Pietro C. Marani

With regard to reliable experts, I have great respect for the Royal Academy, and this is from their site:
Quote:
To celebrate the Universal Leonardo programme of exhibitions around Europe, September's object is a near-contemporary copy, attributed to Giampietrino, of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. ......

.... Giampietrino's copy ... shows details that seem to have been lost in the original, such as the salt-cellar overturned by the right arm of Judas. Giampietrino is known to have been a close follower of Leonardo in Milan, and, it has even been suggested, may have worked as an assistant on the master's Last Supper.

The Royal Academy bought this copy for six hundred guineas in 1821 ... and in 1825 Henry Fuseli, ... Professor of Painting, was able to deliver his eleventh lecture in front of this magnificent record of the original glory of Leonardo's now-faded masterpiece.
http://83.138.168.41/ixbin/hixclient.exe...ON_=NsMMCEAkWeF

Originally Posted By: Grrr82CU
To assure fealty to Leonardo in restoring "The Last Supper" as he painted it, if all these copies referenced by PDM are such close representations of what he originally painted - why not just consult Giampietrino's copy and/or journey to the Tongerlo Abby and/or compare any other copy from the period of these early copies (or later, including restorations) and authorize the commission to restore what Leonardo originally painted to be based upon them?

I'm not an artist, an art historian, or a restorer, but I'd say that it is because they were restoring a specific work ~ not copying another.
Do we know for certain that the early copies were not consulted?

Do you think that the copies, the remains of Leonardo's cleaned original, and the restored version of 'the beloved disciple' are very different from each other?


Edited by PDM (01/22/09 04:19 AM)
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#348291 - 01/22/09 04:09 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


True Blue Soulmate

Registered: 12/16/04
Posts: 22788
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Grrr82CU
.... Apparently some misunderstanding has occurred regarding what this writer said in asking the question "could the gender of the disciple in question be buried in Leonardo's notes?"

No ~ no, I wasn't referring to that. smile

I was simply making a comment ~ that whatever Leonardo did or didn't think about 'The Last Supper', he was painting a long time after the supposed event and his opinions on the subject may not mean anything, anyway.
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#348353 - 01/22/09 10:27 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Grrr82CU Offline
Companion

Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 100
Loc: Chicago, IL
Originally Posted By: PDM, Post #348291
I was simply making a comment ~ that whatever Leonardo did or didn't think about 'The Last Supper', he was painting a long time after the supposed event and his opinions on the subject may not mean anything, anyway.

Understood - just wanted to be sure the reference to Leonardo's notes regarding the "The Last Supper" had not been misunderstood because of how the question was phrased smile

This entry will be attempting to bring some degree of personal closure to what has been presented in defense of the topic that the "beloved disciple" was not Mary Magdalene. New responsibilities - plus the fact that this writer wishes to resume work on the last entry under the discussion topic, "Leonardo's Painting - A Fatal Flaw?" (URL at the end of this post) which continues at a tedious pace due to the complexity of the material to be considered regarding the day and time of Jesus' execution - will impose even greater restrictions on this writer's available time.

Moving forward...

Continuing to trade quotations of either praise or criticism of the outcome of the restoration of Leonardo's "The Last Supper" could, this writer suspects, continue back and forth 'ad infinitum '. Truly, do we need better examples of "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" than all of these opposing comentaries represent ??

Before going further, it seems appropriate regardless of one's stand on the matter to acknowledge the twenty year dedication to the project by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon. Regardless of how her work and the solutions to problems encountered were administered and are now viewed (whether as accomplishing the task successfully or as contributing to further ruination of Leonardo's masterpiece), twenty years is a lot of time to give up out of one's life in devotion to any project. A picture of her at work follows:

... http://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo246/Grrr82CU/RestorerAtWork.jpg ....

In response to the question asked:

Originally Posted By: PDM, Post ##348291
"Do you think that the copies, the remains of Leonardo's cleaned original, and the restored version of 'the beloved disciple' are very different from each other?"

This writer respectfully suggests - ultimately - it doesn't matter.

After all the speculation, visual comparisons, quotations, opinions, etc., have been heard, seen, and debated - the only thing that really matters is how Leonardo himself described the gender of the figure at Jesus' right hand that he was intending to paint.

Whether or not Leonardo's understanding encompassed the entirety of the NT account regarding the timetable and events associated with Jesus and his apostles' "The Last Supper" is basically irrelevant. What he apparently did understand was both the moment described in the NT that became the subject of his painting and the interaction among those present which became what we might describe today as "sub-plots", subtly embedded in the overall painting, all of which are portrayed in various stages of concurrent and animated activity.

This forum presumes to discuss one related point of interest in relation to "The da Vinci Code". It is one of several entries dedicated to the discussion of whether or not the figure to Jesus' right (around which so much controversy swirls) is male or female pursuant to the focus upon that matter Dan Brown brings out through his characters and throughout his novel.

As has been seen thus far, the two major "camps" regarding "The da Vinci Code" are more or less divided between advocates who believe Mary Magdalene is the "disciple Jesus loved" versus those who believe the disciple as so described should be identified as the youthful Apostle John.

So, can we determine if Leonardo intended to paint the figure as a "female" or as a "male"?

Can we know, either way, to any degree of certainty?

Let us see...

If it can be proven that Leonardo himself indicates the gender of the figure to Jesus' right - that should settle once and for all the raging speculations found across a broad spectrum as to how he painted it with regard to its gender characteristics. After all, who is going to argue with the master composer of the painting?

First - an overview of the material specific to answering the question - "What gender did Leonardo intend for the figure to exhibit - male of female?

Leonardo da Vinci's Notebooks are arranged in two volumes, each with a series of “chapter” headings which contain Leonardo’s notes, drawings, etc., regarding specific topics.

The Chapter headings are:
  1. A General Introduction containing Leonardo’s intention to publish his MSS, a general introduction to painting
  2. Linear Perspective
  3. Six sub-books on Light and Shade
  4. Perspective of Disappearance
  5. Theory of Colours
  6. Perspective of Colour and Aerial Perspective
  7. On the Proportions and on the Movements of The Human Figure
  8. Botany for Painters and elements of Landscape Painting
  9. The Practice of Painting
  10. Studies and Sketches for Pictures and Decorations (which contains among the nine sub-headings “Notes on the Last Supper”
In Chapter 10, under the sub-heading of "Notes on the Last Supper", Leonardo states:

Originally Posted By: Lenardo da Vinci writing "Notes on the Last Supper" (665 668) in his own hand

.[9] "Another speaks into his neighbour's ear and he, as he listens to
him, turns towards him to lend an ear"
.

Obviously the first gender-specific reference to "his..ear" refers to the disciple "whom Jesus loved" as described by the NT account cited elsewhere.

The remaining gender-specific references to "he" all refer to the same individual and the actions "he" was taking in inclining towards the speaker, Peter.

So what do we now know? First that the gender of the disciple/apostle to Jesus' right is no longer in question. Leonardo is very clear on that point. Secondly, because of how he describes what the figure in his painting will be doing, those actions can only be matched to the NT description of "the one Jesus loved" inclining his head and ear towards Peter found at Jn 13:32,33,34.

Also, whether or not Leonardo painted the face of the disciple/apostle with "feminine" features in the tradition of The Florentine School is irrelevant. As far as he was concerned according to his own notes, he was painting a youthful male, not a female.

Regardless of how it "appeared" to an early restorer or copyist as they viewed what was left of his masterpiece by the time they arrived, or how it appears to any modern day restorer - or to us in this forum for that matter, Leonardo's own words abrogate any reason to continue contending that the figure to Jesus' right is Mary Magdalene. Such an argument or belief can only be maintained if someone willfully ignores what Leonardo himself said regarding the gender of the figure to Jesus' right.

Even those who propose, argue, or believe that the Church changed the gender of the disciple "whom Jesus loved" (from female to male in the NT), surely have no grounds from which to contend that someone also changed Leonardo's notes that tell us of his intention to portray the figure as a male, not a female. Such an argument, given trying to duplicate Leonard's handwriting (not to mention attempting to conceal any changes made on centuries old manuscript paper), would be impossible to sustain subsequent to the harsh light of investigative scientific and historical scrutiny.

Thus with strokes of his writing instrument now centuries old, Leonardo da Vinci in his own words and handwriting unimpeachably describes his intention to paint a male. This description and the actions of the two figures involved that Leonardo describes as he visualizes what he will bring to life when he paints - describes the interaction between Peter and the disciple/apostle John to Jesus' right. This "word picture", this description of which Leonardo writes in anticipation of actually beginning to paint, unquestionably demonstrates his deliberate intention to include the moment described at Jn 13:32,33,34 into the overall scene he will paint of "The Last Supper".

Leonardo painted just as his notes say he intended to do not the disciple Mary Magdalene who later ran to someone other than to herself to report Jesus' body was no longer in his tomb (Jn 20:1,2), ran as she did to Peter and to this disciple whom "Jesus loved", the one whom Leonardo painted as the "Beloved Disciple" - was the youthful Apostle John.

...and Grrr82CU smile



Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:24 PM)
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#348377 - 01/22/09 02:15 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


True Blue Soulmate

Registered: 12/16/04
Posts: 22788
Loc: UK
First of all, because of copyright concerns, may I please ask if the photograph is your own, or, alternatively, if permission has been given to post it on the forum?
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"The secret of success is constancy to purpose" - Benjamin Disraeli.

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#348382 - 01/22/09 02:36 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Grrr82CU Offline
Companion

Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 100
Loc: Chicago, IL
No avenue is provided to request permission, neither is there any indication the picture is copyrighted. The URL is provided at the end of the post.

smile

Please note a follow-up response posted later regarding this issue.


Edited by Grrr82CU (01/22/09 06:09 PM)
Edit Reason: Additional Information
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