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#345987 - 01/08/09 12:09 PM The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene
Grrr82CU Offline
Companion

Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 100
Loc: Chicago, IL
Part 1
There has been much discussion in the forum about the identity of the “beloved disciple” (Jn 13:23).

Dan Brown in "The da Vinci Code" popularized the centuries old whispers that Mary Magdalene was in fact the disciple being referred to and as such, she was the person to Jesus’ right in Leonardo’s painting of “The Last Supper”. As portrayed in Brown’s novel, Teabing points out that the figure exhibits feminine features plus “the hint of a bosom”.

Regarding such characteristics in the art of the time, it has already been noted that Leonardo was the product of the Florentine School and as such incorporated the style of painting young men with feminine facial structures, expressions and arguably an occasional “hint of a bosom". Some have used the description of “gender-bending” to describe this aspect of some of Leonardo's work.

There is yet one another dimension of Leonardo's paintings that is noteworthy of keeping in mind with regard to his portrayal of young men by representing them with effeminate or “gender bending” features. The "other" dimention to which this writer refers is that Leonardo chose to paint the same face into more than one of his portrayals of a young male figure.

Compare, for example, the “face” of John the Baptist (see note 1 at the conclusion of Part 2)

][indent][URL=http://s380.photobucket.com/albums/oo246/Grrr82CU/?action=view&current=Croped-JohntheBaptist.jpg][/url][/indent]

...with the face of his Angel in the Flesh (see note 2 at the conclusion of Part 2)

[indent][URL=http://s380.photobucket.com/albums/oo246/Grrr82CU/?action=view&current=Croped-AngelintheFlesh.jpg][/url][/indent]

The faces of the two paintings are unmistakably the same face. Equally unmistakable are the feminine facial characteristics in both portrayals especially when viewing the entire composition (links are provided below).

Now consider the face of “Tobias” in Leonardo’s painting Tobias and the Angel (see note 3 at the conclusion of Part 2) and notice the femininity portrayed in the facial characteristics of Tobias the “young man”

Here again we see a young man painted with feminine facial characteristics (and perhaps the “hint of a bosom” in the full painting referenced at the conclusion of Part 2?)

[indent][/indent][color:#FFFFFF].

The purpose of these three illustrations is to demonstrate how Leonardo often painted “young men”. The goal was to document by illustration how Leonrardo typically portrayed young men with effeminate features and even those “hints of bosoms ” seen sometimes in the style of the Florentine School.

Fast-forward to the argument concerning the “feminine” facial characteristics and the “hint of a bosom” of the disciple seated to Jesus’ right in Leonardo’s “The Last Supper”. Those characteristics form the basis of the conclusion that the disciple pictured must be Mary Magdalene and not the Apostle John. As seen from the foregoing illustrations, however, the argument that the disciple pictured is female because Leonardo painted the figure with feminine facial characteristics and the suggestion of other gender-associated anatomical features cannot be maintained in the face of the fact that he regularly painted young men that way. Proponents of this argumentation must look elsewhere for support.

Part 2 - follows


Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:20 PM)
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#345988 - 01/08/09 12:10 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
Grrr82CU Offline
Companion

Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 100
Loc: Chicago, IL
Part 2

Next, much has also been made of the “interval” between Jesus and the disciple to his immediate right. Believers ardently insist Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and that she, not the Apostle John, is the one referred to as “the disciple Jesus loved” (Jn 13:23). Leonardo, it is claimed, in possession of this knowledge and knowing that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married deliberately painted the person to Jesus’ right as leaning away from him so as to provide a future clue to those who would understand it.

The “space” between Jesus and the disciple, proponents of this theory are quick to emphasize, is in the shape of a ”V”.

Nothing is said, however, about the smaller but still just as much a ”V” to the left of Jesus as being symbolic on the basis of the same standards claimed for the one to his right.

This ”V” shape, Dan Brown has us informed through his characters, is supposed to represent the ancient symbol of womanhood, the womb, and thereby the real “chalice”. Mary Magdalene being thus proclaimed in “The Da Vinci Code” as the real “Holy Grail”, is claimed to be the carrier of Jesus’ unborn child. Some will harken back to Sophie Nuvue’s comment towards the end of the movie relating to the prophesied appearance of the “male heir” that “they just got the pronoun wrong”. This is a story long carried along by the winds of Gnosticism.

Others will argue statements regarding the inclusion or exclusion of extant writings represent a “conspiracy theory” approach that the church went into the Greek Text and changed all those references from female to male. Again, it depends upon what one wants to believe, but there is one sentence in the NT Gospels account against which it is much more difficult to mount such an attack. More on that at the end of the post.

Those that debunk the ministry and even the existence of Jesus of Nazareth consider the writings of the New Testament as having no more validity than the Gnostic gospels. To them, a great conspiracy occurred in and around 325 CE during which time Gnostic Gospels such as the ”Gospel of Mary Magdalene” (see notes 4 & 5) and other such writings were suppressed and kept out of the bible “Canon” now expanded to include the grouping of “new testimonial” writings ultimately known simply as “The New Testament”.

The “discarded” writings, it was said by those doing the deciding, did not give evidence of being “inspired” (Gr: “theopneustos“ - God-Breathed”) whereas those accepted into the Canon did. To those in opposition and even to this day, this argument sounds disingenuous. They believe the real reason these writings were banned was because they contained material contradictory to the gospel accounts attributed to (even though the writings are anonymous) Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and other NT writers.

Who is right…and can anyone prove it to the satisfaction of either opposing side?

Probably not – but there are intriguing possibilities.

Gnosticism is the quintessential example of syncretism!! The Gnostic concept of “belief” was always a “work-in-progress”, ever freely adopting, absorbing, and redacting whatever aspects of any religion they encountered. into their own belief-matrix. Elements of Gnosticism can be traced as being widely dispersed even before the Gnostics encountered and began the syncretism of Christian beliefs into their own doctrines. The interaction with Christianity and the writings discovered at Nag Hammadi date from about the second century.

One important element to consider regarding the application of either "set of gospels" in the effort to identify the "disciple Jesus loved", is to determine which group has the better pedigree, the better archeological and/or historically-based seniority.

The earliest fragments of any of the NT Gospel accounts date from as early as 65 CE to 100 CE whereas the earliest fragments of the “Gnostic Gospels” date around the Second Century (101 to 200 CE). That leaves us with the “Gospel Accounts” of the Christian New Testament traditionally attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as being older than the competing Gnostic Gospels.

This writer anticipates that the “elder status” of the Christian Gospel accounts being applied to the task of identifying the “disciple Jesus loved” will be accorded no great weight by some readers judging from comments here and elsewhere expressing their beliefs (or lack thereof) in the veracity of the Hebrew and Christian texts. The simple fact remains, however, that the Christian gospel accounts are the oldest record from which to “rule-in” or “rule-out” that Mary Magdalene was or was not the disciple seated to Jesus’ right as painted by Leonardo da Vinci in “The Last Supper”.

When we investigate the NT Gospel account regarding the “beloved disciple” or “the disciple Jesus loved” – we at once see the gender of the pronoun used is masculine.

Originally Posted By: NT Gospels
  • Jn 13:23: There was reclining on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved
    .
  • Jn 13:24: So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, "Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking."
    .
  • Jn 21:20: Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?"
    .
  • Jn 21:21: So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?"
    .
  • Jn 21:22: Jesus said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!"
    .
  • Jn 21:23: Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?"
    .
.Now notice what the writer of this account says next:

Originally Posted By: Jn 21:24
This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true

.So the writer of this account self-identifies by association with the preceding verses as the individual being referred to as “him”, the “disciple Jesus loved”, who had leaned back towards Jesus and asked “Who is it?”. The writer goes on to assure that the testimony being given about all of this is true.

Knowing there are those who will still dispute on every point herein, it is again stated that the fact remains until textual evidence to the contrary is presented that is both older and more reliable than what has been discovered to date, the identity of the “disciple Jesus loved” cannot be established as being Mary Magdalene from Gnostic writings in contradiction to the older Christian text found especially in the Fourth Gospel as the following demonstrates.

Finally, a separation of identity between Mary Magdalene and “the disciple Jesus loved” is plainly stated as follows:

Originally Posted By: New American Standard Bible, Jn 20:1,2
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."

.What conclusion might we reach then - based upon everything considered thus far plus the oldest available documentation?

First, Leonardo often painted young men such as John the Baptist, Tobias, and the disciple to Jesus’ right with feminine features so this does not in and of itself identify that figure as being female as many propose. Leonardo da Vinci’s portrayal of the disciple to Jesus’ right in “The Last Supper, therefore, was a youthful male apostle depicted with feminine characterics as he had done so often before (including a seperate painting of the John The Baptist previously demonstrated and referenced below).

Secondly - and piviotal to the identification of the disciple in question, Mary Magdalene – did not run to herself at Jn 21:1, 2, in announcing that Jesus’ body was missing from the tomb, she ran to “the disciple Jesus loved”. Clearly then, she was not one and the same disciple who had leaned back upon Jesus’ chest from where he was seated at the table for “The Last Supper”.

Mary Magdalene - was not the disciple that Leonardo painted to Jesus' right, it was the youthful Apostle John.

Originally Posted By: URL References
Note 1: Leonardo's "John The Baptist" may be viewed in its full proportions at http://www.topofart.com/artists/da_Vinci_Leonardo/art_reproduction/1011/St_John_the_Baptist.php
Note 2: This writer has chosen not to portray the full painting of "The Angel in the Flesh" out of respect for the possibility of very young viewers visiting the forum. Those interested in viewing the drawing may locate it through any web-search portal
Note 3: Leonardo's painting of Tobias and the Angel may be viewed at http://www.universalleonardo.org/worklar...ount=&name=
Note 4: Gnostic Gospel of Mary Magdalene http://www.gnosis.org/library/marygosp.htm
Note 5: Fragment (select the "Oxyrhynchus" site), http://www.papyrology.ox.ac.uk/

....and Grrr82CU smile

.


Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:21 PM)
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#346057 - 01/08/09 05:27 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


True Blue Soulmate

Registered: 12/16/04
Posts: 22788
Loc: UK
I hope that this will generate some interesting conversation.

Our thread on the loved disciple:

The Beloved Disciple / 'The disciple whom Jesus loved' (merged threads)
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=346068&page=1

*
These may also be relevant:
Mary Magdalane or John?
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=76836&page=1

Mary/John theory
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=187052

Missing Disciple?
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=80900


Edited by PDM (01/08/09 05:56 PM)
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#346381 - 01/11/09 03:11 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
PDM Offline


True Blue Soulmate

Registered: 12/16/04
Posts: 22788
Loc: UK
I'll look at Part 1, first.

Yes, I understand that Leonardo ~ and others ~ painted young men in an effeminate way.

I realise, therefore, that just because a model / character looks effeminate doesn't have to mean that this is a female.

With regard to this particular character, though, it is interesting that there appears to be a tradition of painting 'John' and 'Mary Magdalene' so that they look very similar indeed.

I would be interested to know the reason for this phenomenon, which is illustrated in the following thread:
Art - Why should 'John' look so feminine?
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=78565#Post78565

With regard to the two specific pieces shown, there is another one that is very, very similar.

It is shown in this thread:
Painting attributed to Salai
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=306587#Post306587

The above pictures are shown / discussed here:
Also two more images ~ 'the beloved disciple' and 'the virgin Mary'. They are very, very similar to each other & also resemble, somewhat, the males discussed:
Look here:
'How the apostle John was usually portrayed'
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=79832

I have posted 'the beloved disciple' and 'the virgin Mary' here, too:
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=79593

Three views of 'Mary' can be accessed here:
'Virgin of the Rocks - Again'
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=342371#Post342371


I said on another thread: 'There is an art researcher, called Maike Vogt-Luerssen who thinks that the same model posed for many of the females, in Leonardo's works, and that this woman's son, who resembled her, posed for a lot of the males.'
Quoted from my post here:
John, Mary Magdalene, or The Virgin Mary?
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=77519

See also:
Isabella of Aragon; a Sforza and Leonardo's model.
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=78623

Also relevant:
John slideshow on youtube
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=215989#Post215989

Leonardo's depiction of youthful males
http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=79260


Edited by PDM (01/11/09 03:42 AM)
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#346382 - 01/11/09 03:39 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
Part 2

Next, much has also been made of the “interval” between Jesus and the disciple to his immediate right. Believers ardently insist Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and that she, not the Apostle John, is the one referred to as “the disciple Jesus loved” (Jn 13:23). Leonardo, it is claimed, in possession of this knowledge and knowing that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married deliberately painted the person to Jesus’ right as leaning away from him so as to provide a future clue to those who would understand it.

The “space” between Jesus and the disciple, proponents of this theory are quick to emphasize, is in the shape of a ”V”.

Nothing is said, however, about the smaller but still just as much a ”V” to the left of Jesus as being symbolic on the basis of the same standards claimed for the one to his right...


I wouldn't like to say what this 'V' represents ~ I have no idea ~ but I do think that it is noticeable ~ much more so that the one on the other side.

Plus, the other one contains other symbolism ~ the upwards-pointing finger ~ called, by some, the gesture which represents John the Baptist.

So there are two mysteries set before us for us to solve.

There is a puzzle to the left of Jesus and a puzzle to the right.

On one side we have a disciple putting his 'framed' John gesture before Jesus.

On the other side, we have a disciple ~ 'the beloved disciple' ~ looking very like Leonardo's paintings of the Virgin Mary in the Madonna of the Rocks paintings, close to him at the hip, looking like a mirror image of him, and not lying in his lap, but pulling right away from him, with a noticeable V-shaped gap between them. It must mean something.

Of course, it is Leonardo's Renaissance art, it is not a contemproary illustration of 'The Last Supper'.



Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:22 PM)
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#346383 - 01/11/09 03:47 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
PDM Offline


True Blue Soulmate

Registered: 12/16/04
Posts: 22788
Loc: UK
Regarding the conclusions based on Biblical verses, yes, they do appear to refer to a male, and not to Mary Magdalene.

However, those verses have been written, re-written and interpreted. I accept that we shouldn't read things in that are not there, but we shouldn't rely, too much, on ancient texts which had an agenda.

We do not have the originals. We do not know their full stories. We do not know who the writers were and whether or not they were biased.

I have read interpretations, where the writer has concluded that they may, indeed, refer to Mary, in spite of what has been said, above. I shall have to try to find the book.


Edited by PDM (01/11/09 03:54 AM)
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#346445 - 01/11/09 02:38 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Grrr82CU Offline
Companion

Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 100
Loc: Chicago, IL
PDM has offered many interesting links with which to compare Leonardo's predilection for painting young men in a style that we today interpret as "feminine" features. In future posts, this writer intends to suggest a different reason for Leonardo's portrayal of young men with "delicate" features (note the word "feminine" was not used).

For now, and first, a quick look at the reference that some identify the disciple/apostle to Jesus left with the "upward pointing finger as John the Baptist".

Please review Post #79830 - 06/10/05, Topic: "How The Apostle John Was Usually Portrayed", (URL at the end of the Post).

In that example, the figure is not identified as John the Baptist but as Thomas.

John The Baptist was long dead by the time Jesus and his disciple/apostles met for this final time. Accordingly, Leonardo did not paint John The Baptist into the scene.

We are all aware from Dan Brown's novel of the emphasis the character Teabing puts on the appearance of the disciple/apostle to Jesus' immediate right and the interpretation he places on the " V " space in between them - echoed in this thought:

Originally Posted By: PDM, #346382
"It must mean something."

With respect, this thought can have the unintended consequence of giving impetus to find and apply a meaning that Leonardo himself never intended. Even in the novel, the phenomenon of Scotoma is applied in the discussion that Sophie Neveu "saw" a male figure because of her pre-conceived notion the painting was of twelve male apostles. As was argued in the novel/movie, the brain excludes consideration of what the eye is seeing because of what it wants or expects to see.

To "make" the " V " become something beyond a simple interval of space between Jesus and the youthful disciple to his right - is to run the very real risk of exercising the principle of "seeing what the mind wants to believe". To be sure, this writer knows PDM to be a careful reader and researcher but the unintended consequences of "It must mean something" must be carefully guarded against to prevent any tendency to develop and apply "meaning" where such meaning was not intended by the originating artist.

Consider this....

If Leonardo intended to portray Jesus and Mary Magdalene as a "couple" in "The Last Supper" - where are other examples of this supposed belief of his expressed in other paintings, sculpture, or drawings? Nothing of the sort exists.

Next, let us be clear on the body posture and positioning of the figure in question. Many looking for a reason to "see" some hidden meaning in the space to Jesus' right believe Leonardo deliberately painted the figure in such a way to create a " V " shaped space by leaning away from him.

This writer counters - that Leonardo was depicting exactly the moment he was intending - and it wasn't to create a " V " shaped space to represent the female womb.

What Leonardo did, was to paint a specifically described event that involved one and only one of the those present:

Originally Posted By: Jn 13:32,33,34, NAS
"The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. There was reclining on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. So Simon Peter motioned to this man to ask Jesus about whom he was speaking. He, leaning back thus on Jesus' bosom, said to Him, "Lord, who is it?"

Now pull up a picture of "The Last Supper" and look at it.

Leornado did not intend for us to interpret the figure in question as leaning away from Jesus but leaning toward Peter.

Again - look at the picture! Leonardo depicts Peter as being in the process of asking his question. Peter's lips are close to the inclined ear of the disciple as if to make himself heard above the elevated and animated discussions around them, his hand is on the disciple's shoulder - doing as we ourselves might do when accompanying a verbal directive - he is gesturing, pointing in Jesus' direction whom he wants the youthful Apostle to ask his question.

Everything Leonardo paints of this moment between Peter and the disciple is happening right then, right in the midst of the room's chaos, according to Jn 13:32,33,34. This portrayal does not paint a picture of a Mary Magdalene and a "V" symbolizing the real "chalice", the "womb", it is showing us the youthful Apostle John, the one to whom Mary later ran to announce that Jesus' body was missing from the tomb, receiving a request from the Apostle Peter to ask Jesus the identity of the one about to betray him.

Only time remaining for one or two more thoughts regarding the NT verses used by this writer to discuss the "gender" indicted of the disciple/apostle seated to Jesus' right.

Originally Posted By: PDM
"However, those verses have been written, re-written and interpreted.

Quid Pro Quo

With respect, knowing many feel that way regarding "scripture", in the interests of applying an equal standard to both, Leonardo's painting has been repaired, retouched, repainted, damaged by Napoleon's troops, partially removed - then glued back in place, been declared "unrecognizable" several times over and in between centuries and periods of neglect. Even with the earliest copies (made on the very edge of the painting being "unrecognizable") to compare for restorative purposes, who can say with certainty employing the same standard being applied above to bible verses that nuances and delicate details have also not been altered by those with an agenda with regard to Leonardo's painting?

In either case, there is good reason to give due weight and credit to the results regarding the work on both bible texts by textual scholars ever searching for and refining biblical texts for the greatest accuracy as well as to the well intended restoration work over the centuries on Leonardo's painting.

Finally, remember the earlier point - that the disciple/apostle to Jesus' right is not leaning away from him but toward Peter.

That fact alone provides an entirely different perspective regarding the proposed "symbolic meaning" of the "V" space between Jesus and the disciple. After all, with the disciple/apostle leaning away from Jesus and toward Peter to hear what he wanted to say, what else would Leonardo's have painted there if not the "V" space as a matter of pure conincidence versus the speculations of modern day da Vinci Code theorists?

Regrettably, this writer will be away for a period of time tending to a personal matter, so some absence from discussion is unavoidable.

...but...Grrr82CU smile


URL to view a representation of attendees of "The Last Supper" (scroll down to reach Last Supper image):

http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=79819&page=2
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#347090 - 01/15/09 05:44 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


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Registered: 12/16/04
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Originally Posted By: Grrr82CU
.... For now, and first, a quick look at the reference that some identify the disciple/apostle to Jesus left with the "upward pointing finger as John the Baptist".

Please review Post #79830 - 06/10/05, Topic: "How The Apostle John Was Usually Portrayed", (URL at the end of the Post).

In that example, the figure is not identified as John the Baptist but as Thomas.

John The Baptist was long dead by the time Jesus and his disciple/apostles met for this final time. Accordingly, Leonardo did not paint John The Baptist into the scene.....


Of course John had been killed by this time. I never thought that this was John The Baptist. The point I was making is that the pointing finger has been equated with John The Baptist. In Raphael's 'The School of Athens', it looks like Leonardo, himself, who is pointing.
http://www.newbanner.com/AboutPic/SOA.html
It would appear that this gesture had real meaning for Leonardo.
Gestures always mean something.
What was the reason for Thomas's pointing finger?
Since Leonardo's John the Baptist figures seem to be connected to the gesture, I wonder if it is meant to symbolise him in the painting.
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#347093 - 01/15/09 06:01 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


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Originally Posted By: PDM, #346382
"It must mean something."

Originally Posted By: Grrr82CU

With respect, this thought can have the unintended consequence of giving impetus to find and apply a meaning that Leonardo himself never intended. ..... the brain excludes consideration of what the eye is seeing because of what it wants or expects to see.

To "make" the " V " become something beyond a simple interval of space between Jesus and the youthful disciple to his right - is to run the very real risk of exercising the principle of "seeing what the mind wants to believe".


On the other hand, experts agree that there was a lot of symbolism in Renaissance art. If we do not look for it, how will we find it?

I had a look at some other 'Last Suppers'.

In the following, 'John' is in the lap of Jesus:
http://www.irfwp.org/content/archives/lastsupper.jpg ~ 'John ' is in his lap.

Bassano, Jacopo 'The Last Supper' 1542 ~'John ' is in his lap.
http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/bassano/last-supper/

Last Supper — Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1480
http://www2.creighton.edu/ipf/ipfprograms/formingtheformators/thesaintlyintellect/

This one, like Leonardo's has the 'V-shaped gap.
Philippe de Champaigne. The Last Supper. 1654. ~ Does have the 'V'
http://romanchristendom.blogspot.com/2008/03/maundy-thursday-new-commandment-i-give.html

Doesn't Leonardo want us to wonder why he put such a large gap between Jesus and the beloved disciple, rather than having him in his lap?


Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:23 PM)
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#347094 - 01/15/09 06:05 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


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Originally Posted By: PDM
"However, those verses have been written, re-written and interpreted.


Originally Posted By: Grrr82CU
With respect, knowing many feel that way regarding "scripture", in the interests of applying an equal standard to both, Leonardo's painting has been repaired, retouched, repainted, damaged by Napoleon's troops, partially removed - then glued back in place, been declared "unrecognizable" several times over and in between centuries and periods of neglect. Even with the earliest copies (made on the very edge of the painting being "unrecognizable") to compare for restorative purposes, who can say with certainty employing the same standard being applied above to bible verses that nuances and delicate details have also not been altered by those with an agenda with regard to Leonardo's painting?...


Yes, indeed, so it is hard to be sure of anything.

I am mostly intrigued by the similarity between the Marys of the 'Virgin of the Rocks' pictures and the beloved disciple in 'The Last Supper'.


Edited by PDM (01/15/09 06:06 PM)
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#348042 - 01/20/09 07:28 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Grrr82CU Offline
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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


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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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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


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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
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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


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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


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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
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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


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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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#348382 - 01/22/09 02:36 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Grrr82CU Offline
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Registered: 09/04/07
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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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#348384 - 01/22/09 02:47 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


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I'm sorry, but you are only allowed to post photos if you own the copyright or if permission has been given, which can be accessed by Lisa.

I have removed the photo but retained the link. smile


Edited by PDM (01/22/09 03:32 PM)
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#348389 - 01/22/09 03:28 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


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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?"

Originally Posted By: Grrr82CU
This writer respectfully suggests - ultimately - it doesn't matter.

I think that, if it didn't matter, no-one would be looking at the subject, so I think that it probably does matter ~ as far as the discussion, etc, is concerned.

I think that the combination of the early copies and the latest restoration probably give an indication of what Leonardo wanted his 'beloved disciple' to look like.

Whether he intended it to be a female, or an effeminate-looking male, I don't know. I don't think that the conclusion is an obvious one, though.

His notes may indicate a male beloved, but his notes also show a typical John ~ which is not like the one in the final painting.

And, if it was meant to be a woman, he was hardly likely to put something heretical in writing.


Edited by PDM (01/22/09 03:33 PM)
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#348404 - 01/22/09 04:41 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
PDM Offline


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Here's a sketch ~ but which one is 'the disciple Jesus loved'?

http://www.renaflacaria.com/da%20Vinci%20page/LastSupper-sketches.JPG
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#348429 - 01/22/09 06:01 PM 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
Hello PDM,

Since the purpose was to honor the dedication of Pinin Brambilla Barcilon to the restorative effort for twenty years, this writer has no objection to removal of the acutal picture of her at work but retaining the link.

Research did turn up the sponsoring site after much effort and permission has been requested. This writer hopes that if that is granted, the image will be restored to the post for reader's immediate viewing.

Tks

...and Grrr82CU smile



Edited by Grrr82CU (01/22/09 07:13 PM)
Edit Reason: Needed Changes
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#348736 - 01/24/09 09:02 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
Grrr82CU Offline
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In the interest of being sure previous comments made by this writer were understood as intended, a brief review:

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?"

To which this writer responded:

Quote:
Grrr82CU, Post #348353] “This writer respectfully suggests - ultimately - it doesn't matter

Which elicited:

Originally Posted By: PDM, Post #348389
“I think that, if it didn't matter, no-one would be looking at the subject, so I think that it probably does matter ~ as far as the discussion, etc, is concerned”

.To clarify what was intended to be understood (apologies if not expressed clearly enough), was that ”ultimately it doesn’t matter” if none or all of the images of the figure to Jesus’ right look the same or even similar. Why? Because centuries before Dan Brown attributed a different interpretation to what he painted, Leonardo committed to writing his own intention to paint the gender of the figure which he describes simply as ”he”.

So this writer's original comment as re-quoted above was not meant to be understood in the sense that interest in Leonardo’s “The Last Supper”, or comparisons between original, copied, or restored examples of it, even focusing on the figure to Jesus' right, "do not matter". This writer's intended meaning was - what we “see” is not as important as the standard by which we interpret what we "see". Said another way, whatever gender we think the figure to Jesus’ right appears to be - should be tempered by the knowledge of what Leonardo indicated was the gender as he described it in his notebook. Application of how Leonardo's described the intended figure’s gender is what should be providing the standard by which we view what he painted not what “gender” enthusiastic followers of “The da Vinci Code” assign to it.

What happens - if we set aside for a moment the NT description of the event (that describes Mary Magdalene running to the disciple “Jesus loved” [Jn 20:1,2])?

We still have Leonardo's own words written centuries ago unmistakably telling us that the figure to Jesus’ right was a “he”. Continuing to insist, therefore, that the figure to Jesus’ right is “female” clearly becomes a case of imposing an artificial standard based on the premise of a novel over the words of Leonardo himself.

This writer wonders – “How much attention was paid to such matters as the face and anatomical features of the disciple to Jesus’ right before Dan Brown’s made that the lynchpin of his novel’s theme”?.

That would be an interesting research project ‘il ne serait pas’ ??

Originally Posted By: PDM, Post #348389
“I think that the combination of the early copies and the latest restoration probably give an indication of what Leonardo wanted his 'beloved disciple' to look like. Whether he intended it to be a female, or an effeminate-looking male, I don't know. I don't think that the conclusion is an obvious one, though”

.This writer again proposes that the is issue should not be what we “see” as the appearance that some interpret to be female but are we open to our perception of what we see being trained by Leonardo’s own words reagarding the gender of the figure. If we we are willing to “see” the figure though Leonardo’s “mind’s-eye” then we will “see” as he did, a male disciple/apostle inclining his head towards Peter to hear what was being said to him. That is what Leonardo painted, delicate features after The Florentine School and all, and that is how we should “see” the gender of the figure, not through a Dan Brown's "da Vinci Code" lens.

Originally Posted By: PDM, Post #348389
“His notes may indicate a male beloved, but his notes also show a typical John ~ which is not like the one in the final painting”

.At the very risk risk of becoming redundant, our perception of what he painted again should be guided by what Leonardo wrote – very specifically – about the gender of the disciple he intended to portray as leaning toward another. The “face” he places on that figure – again – is irrelevant to the issue of the figure’s gender considering as we should be - The Florentine School’s influence on his era. Surely in many of Leonardo's paintings he also portrays age progression but the very young and the adolescent have very similiar facial stuctures in his works.

Originally Posted By: PDM, Post #348389
“And, if it was meant to be a woman, he was hardly likely to put something heretical in writing”

.Intending with every respect to be accorded to the quoted thought above, such a possibility is unsubstantiated by even any remotely credible source. Leonardo’s notebooks were not subject to inspection by the church. He was a fiercely private man and more than once recorded as doing battle with his church and its representatives. It fits neither what we know about his bold personality nor how he lived his life to suspect he deliberately referred to a figure as a "male" that he secretely intended to paint as a "female" just because he feared some sanction by the church if discovered. In the final analysis, there is far more historically-defined reason to believe that he believed the figure leaning towards Peter to hear him was a male apostle.

Finally, Leonardo was not the only artist to portray the Apostle John in his youth with “delicate” features many today might label “feminine” – although in doing so – they pay no attention to the "gender" that was intended by the artist five centuries or so ago in reflection the influence of The Florentine School. Here is a list of paintings (which this writer will not attempt to display given recent concerns over material that may or may not be copyrighted) from various artist of the era, many of which never saw Leonardo's painting as far as we know, that can be researched and viewed for comparison.

  • Duccio, painting dated between 1308 – 1311 CE
  • Pietro Lozenzetti, painting dated 1320 CE
  • Giotto, painting dated between 1320 – 1325 CE
  • Jaume Serra, painting dated between 1370 – 1400 CE
  • Gertram von Minden, painting dated between 1390 – 1400 CE
  • Master of Raigen, painting dated between 1410 – 1420 CE
  • Sassetta, painting dated 1423 CE
  • Andrea del Castagno, painting dated 1447 CE
  • Jaume Bago Jacomart, painting dated 1450 CE
  • Dieric Bouts the Elder, painting dated 1464 – 1467 CE
  • Cosimo Rosselle, painting dated 1481 – 1482 CE
  • Domenico Ghirlandaio, painting dated 1486 CE
  • Leonardo da Vinci, painting dated 1495 - 1498 CE
  • Master Paul of Lõcse, painting dated 1508 – 1517 CE
.There are other examples but as this list demonstrates, both before (1308-1311 CE) Leonardo portrayed the Apostle John seated to Jesus’ right at “The Last Supper” and continuing afterwards (1508 – 1517 CE), he was not the only artist to reflect The Florentine School’s influence on the era of how youth, innocence, and age was to be portrayed in art.

All of those artists in their own minds were not painting a “female” apostle, they were painting a male – just as Leonardo in his mind, according to his notes specific to the moment he intended to portray when the disciple to Jesus’ right leans towards Peter to hear what he is trying to ask him, was going to paint a “he”.

Every piece of credible evidence available, therefore, validates the position that Leonardo painted the disciple/Apostle John, displayed as young man - not Mary Magdalene.

…and Grrr82CU smile


Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:25 PM)
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#348740 - 01/24/09 09:10 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


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Originally Posted By: Grrr82CU
... This writer would also suggest consideration of the fact that Leonardo paints John at different ages, one as the child sitting to the left of Mary in “Virgin of the Rock” and then older seated to Jesus right at “The Last Supper". ...

Could you elaborate on this, please? confused

“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



Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:25 PM)
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#348742 - 01/24/09 09:23 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
PDM Offline


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I know that John's features are often effeminate in such paintings ~ I have given a link to quite a few, myself, above.

I accept that Leonardo may also have painted a young man with effeminate features.

I accept that Leonardo used the pronoun 'he' in his notes.

However, since he did not paint 'John' as sketched in his notes, he must have had a change of mind.

Who knows how far that change of mind went?

We do not have all of his notes.

I think that the way 'John' looks is important because 'he' looks like other people painted by Leonardo.

Admittedly, he looks a bit like Leonardo's picture(s) of John the Baptist, but he looks more like his pictures of 'the Virgin Mary' in the 'Madonna of the Rocks' paintings.

Perhaps he used a female model.
Perhaps he used two related models ~ one make & one female ~ who looked alike. Maybe that is the explanation.

As for his personal diaries and notebooks, having been arrested once, he might have had to be especially careful in future.


Edited by PDM (01/24/09 10:47 AM)
Edit Reason: typo
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#348746 - 01/24/09 10:04 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
PDM Offline


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Some images for comparison ~ some were tiny, so I re-sized the others:

Leonardo's Beloved Disciple, Angel, John the Baptist, Giampietrino's Beloved Disciple, Tongerlo Beloved Disciple, Louvre Virgin of the Rocks, Nat. Gallery Virgin of the Rocks



I hope that posting these very tiny details of much larger paintings does not contravene any copyright legislation!


Edited by PDM (01/24/09 10:48 AM)
Edit Reason: typo
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#348762 - 01/24/09 11:41 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Grrr82CU Offline
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Originally Posted By: Grrr82CU
"This writer would also suggest consideration of the fact that Leonardo paints John at different ages, one as the child sitting to the left of Mary in “Virgin of the Rock” and then older seated to Jesus right at “The Last Supper"

Originally Posted By: PDM
"Could you elaborate on this, please?

This was removed and apologies that it was not removed quickly enough before readers in the forum accessed it. A brief trip out contributed to the delay in discovering that a post not completely redacted and developed had been entered by mistake. What was posted that is being referred to, was inadvertantly "submitted" as an entry before several areas that had comments left from moving text around in a preliminary work-up were deleted. When the mixup was discovered a short time later, the post was removed and replaced. The "John" in the Virgin of the Rocks is John the Baptist, not John the Apostle.

Sorry for the unintended entry and subsequent confusion.


Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:25 PM)
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#348781 - 01/24/09 01:22 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
Grrr82CU Offline
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Originally Posted By: PDM
"However, since he did not paint 'John' as sketched in his notes, he must have had a change of mind"

This writer knows it is becoming repetitive to say, but it simply doesn't matter what "face" or anything else about the figure Leonardo decided upon relative to its final state. He still considered it a male according to the entry into his notes describing the interplay between the two male disciples he was going to paint.

It is well known, isn't it, that Leonardo would follow someone he saw in the streets, at a market and elsewhere to capture their "face" as well as using models? Isn't it also a matter of record according to his biographer Giorgio Vasari that he delayed painting the "face" of Judas in "The Last Supper" because he could not find the "right" face to characterize the 'evil' he had in mind to portray, even reportedly searching among criminals for someone after which to model Judas' face?

If, therefdore, he at one time sketched one figure in his preparation for painting the disciple John but later found a "face" that he preferred to represent the youth and innocence he had in mind and painted that face in his final portrayal of the disciple, it still represented a "he" as far as he was concerned per his notes. Accordingly, it would not matter if the "model face" he ultimately chose was selected at random from a young male or female or one he had previously catelogued, it was still going to be a "male" disciple in his finished painting, again, according to his notes. There is simply nothing else that exists other than wishful speculation to suggest (much less validate) that Leonardo ever thought of the disciple's "gender" seated at Jesus' right as being anything other than "male".

...and Grrr82CU smile


Edited by Grrr82CU (01/24/09 03:26 PM)
Edit Reason: Needed Changes & Clarification
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#348858 - 01/24/09 06:24 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
Berzelmayr Offline
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Sometimes I wish the "hair-fashion" for young males of Leonardo's time would have looked like the one from the 50s, so these confusions (male or female) wouldn't get so much attention and we could talk about other aspects grin (btw, since I've mentioned the 50s there's an old American TV film where the young James Dean played John: http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=21bqgY5HLPw - after 3:33 min wink

I think the popularity of the "Brown-interpretation" is partly based on a rather modern idea that every disciple of Jesus was guy with a beard and clothes that look somehow "Middle Eastern". I mean, if you compare the traditional depictions of the disciple John with the way we remember him from several Jesus-movies then you understand what I mean. Though it was not alway like this, the John from an older Jesus-film by Nicholas Ray ("King Of Kings") was still representing that youthful image of him:

On the other hand a rather recent movie that is even filmed from his perspective ("Gospel of John") makes him look like that:


So people that are getting used by this interpretation and not knowing or forgetting the traditional way and therefore not expecting someone looking so young. One could even speculate, whether a young John that is very close to Jesus makes those many Christians, who are scared of anything that goes into a certain direction, feel uncomfortable, and that they maybe even prefer to see Mary Magdalene next to him.

And of course the old question 'what is actually feminine' rises again. That cuteness is seen primarily as something "feminine" has a lot to do with the fact that youthful looks just stay a lot longer with females, which makes people believe it would therefore a real female trait, while it is actually more a question of age and development.

Just like faces of very old women (or extreme body buidling ones) can look quite coarse (including some growth of beard and often lowered voices) on the one hand, boys would be still on their way to develop all these physical chracteristics that one expects from males on the other. One should mention that this kind of "über-youthfulness" were also attributes of other saints and of course of angels (they idea that the latter look like young males isn't just connected to some art schools of the Renaissance but also based on the bible and a comment of the Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus about the destruction of Sodom).

Here are two examples:
St Sebastian by Raffaello:


St George by Mantegna:


The legends say they were both soldiers of the Roman army so ones would expect them to look more adult, but artists (both older and younger than Leonardo) prefered it to paint them in a way that looks "feminine" to modern viewers. Well, it's not just John, but also other males that got this physical chracteristics. Another strong indication that there was never an intention on Leonardo's side to put Mary Magdalene into this picture.


Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:25 PM)
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#348924 - 01/25/09 10:26 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Berzelmayr]
PDM Offline


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To be honest, I wonder if this is really worth debating, because we shall probably never know, for certain, what was going on on Leonardo's mind and what was influencing him.

However, the item has been posted for discussion, and I find it quite interesting to discuss.

As for effeminate-looking young boys, there is no need to try to convince me, personally, because I know that this is so.

On the other hand, young women also looked 'effeminate'.

Here are some very pretty young boys by Raffaelo & Perugino:

http://dardel.info/museum/museum1/Raffaelo-giovane.jpg
http://dardel.info/museum/museum1/Raffaello_Altoviti.jpg
http://dardel.info/museum/museum1/Perugino1.jpg

I fully accept that Leonardo might well have taken a moment from the biblical 'Last Supper', with Jesus and his twelve male disciples, and painted it exactly as per the Bible story.

Like others, he may well have decided that the 'beloved disciple' referred to John, and then made him look like an effeminate young boy.

On the other hand, some people ~ rightly or wrongly ~ have interpreted Leonardo as something of a rebel, who had problems with church dogma.

He was also very clever.

Heretical ideas were flowing around Renaissance Florence.
A number of Renaissance paintings are known to contain symbolism and, perhaps, 'hidden messages'.

If Leonardo had heard some of the heretical stories, and wanted to include them in his paintings, then he would have been intelligent & talented enough to include them, secretly.

He may not have done ~ but it isn't impossible.

Can we see anything that makes us wonder, when we look at Leonardo's 'Last Supper'?

Well, certainly some people can.

They wonder why the boy who is supposed to be sitting in the lap of Jesus is leaning away from him.

They wonder why Leonardo left that noticeable 'V' shape between them.

They wonder why John looks so much like some of Leonardo's female models.

For my part, it is not that I do not see or understand the arguments, it's that I do not think that anyone can conclusively know what was in Leonardo's mind.

Furthermore, I think that it is worth looking into other possibilities ~ and other mysteries.

Berzelmayr has posted Raffaello's 'St Sebastian' (I hope there won't be copyright problems with that ~ or with the images I shall include).
Here are some more people by Raffaello, who look just like St Sebastian ~ and like each other:



One is Mary Magdalene at the Crucifixion and one St John.
They could be twins! (Or triplets with Sebastian.)

Here are Mary Magdalene and St John at the Crucifion, again ~ by Perugino this time:

Twins again!

You can see the full paintings here:
http://www.artchive.com/artchive/r/raphael/raphael_crucifixion.jpg

http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/96/70096-004-7A4B5F54.jpg
http://www.pa.msu.edu/courses/2003fall/isp213h/art/renaissanceImages/peruginoCrus.jpg

I cannot tell the difference between Mary Magdalene and St John in these two paintings.
Why should that be?
Why were they painted as twins?

Maybe, if I could understand that, then I would be better able to understand why Leonaerdo painted his St John looking exactly like another Mary ~ the mother of Jesus.

I feel that, if the paintings, themselves, didn't pose the questions, then nobody would be asking them.

That doesn't mean, of course, that there aren't perfectly reasonable and non-controversial answers to these questions. smile
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#349206 - 01/26/09 08:07 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Grrr82CU Offline
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Originally Posted By: PDM, color added by this writer for discussion point emphasis
As for effeminate-looking young boys, there is no need to try to convince me, personally, because I know that this is so. On the other hand, young women also looked 'effeminate'

Aren’t they suppose to ??? smile

Originally Posted By: PDM, color and underline by this writer for discussion point emphasis
I fully accept that Leonardo might well have taken a moment from the biblical 'Last Supper', with Jesus and his twelve male disciples, and painted it exactly as per the Bible story. Like others, he may well have decided that the 'beloved disciple' referred to John, and then made him look like an effeminate young boy

.According to Leonardo’s notes by his own hand, that is exactly what he did minus the "effeminate" part. Painting under the influence of The Florentine School very likely resulted in Leonardo himself not considering his portrayals of a male youth as "effeminate" but simply as "youthful" in the style of his era.

Originally Posted By: PDM
They wonder why the boy who is supposed to be sitting in the lap of Jesus is leaning away from him

.Perhaps it is because they are either unfamiliar with or have chosen to ignore (which is the more likely) the fourth gospel account (Jn 13:23-25) that very clearly describes the figure to Jesus’ right – not as leaning away from Jesus but inclining towards Peter to hear the question Peter is asking him to relay to Jesus.

According to the NT account, at Jn 13:2, the sequential stages of movement by the disciple are as follows:

  1. The disciple was leaning on Jesus’ chest (Jn 13:23)
  2. Then the disciple leaned towards Peter when Peter “beckoned/motioned” (Gr: neuei) to him that he wanted the disciple to relay a message to Jesus (Jn 13:24)
  3. Then the disciple leaned back towards Jesus and asked him the question Peter had directed him to ask (Jn 13:25)
.Now – what do you suppose we would be hearing - IF - Leonardo had chosen instead to paint the moment when after hearing Peter’s question the disciple leaned back towards Jesus and asked him Peter’s question?

We would be hearing a chorus from da Vinci Code advocates clamoring that, “See there! Mary is leaning on Jesus’ beast!” – completely ignoring the leaning first one way and then another and for what purpose.

When someone is determined to make something of nothing, they will at the sacrifice of almost any truth or fact and in this case, both from Leonardo's notes as well as the NT account, the "space" was created incidental to the disciple inclining towards Peter to hear what he had to say.

Put another way – “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts” on the part of da Vinci Code enthusiasts.

And by the way, if Leonardo had not opted to portray the "before" (the disciple leaning towards Peter) and instead painted the "after" (the disciple leaning back towards Jesus) there would have been no "V" shape, no "chalice", no pagan symbol of womanhood, no central theme for Mr. Brown to base his novel upon.

That alone demonstrates that the "V" space is totally incidental to the movement of the disciple leaning towards Peter, not an intent on the part of Leonardo to paint a symbolic "womb".

What else was Leonardo going to put in the "gap" between the disciple leaning towards Peter and therefdore away from Jesus? An octagon? A rectangle? A window?

In choosing the portray the NT passage describing the figure leaning towards Peter, Leonardo had no choice but to paint the “space” created by that action exactly the way he did. No hidden meanings, no symbolism for future understanding, no covert expressions of an heretical whisper, just a space, just a space accommodating the action of the disciple to Jesus' right leaning towards another disciple to hear him.

Every evidence considered regarding the NT account Leonardo obviously modeled his two figures after leaves no reasonable doubt that attributing some mystical meaning to the “space” created by the one disciple leaning towards Peter is exactly the process of “creating something out of nothing to suit an agenda unknown to Leonardo himself”.

In weeks of meetings - more when time permits.

...and Grrr82CU smile


Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:25 PM)
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#349238 - 01/27/09 05:02 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
PDM Offline


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Originally Posted By: Grrr82CU
"Put another way – “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts” on the part of da Vinci Code enthusiasts."

As a historian, I know that we have to go with 'the facts', but I have also learned that we may not always be sure of the full facts.

Sometimes our conclusions are correct; sometimes they are incorrect and sometimes they are ... well, inconclusive.

I feel, though, that sometimes historians miss things by saying:

“My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with [ideas or alternative theories]” smile

I loved 'The Da Vinci Code'; and found it very exciting, readable and thought-provoking. However, as you will find if you read back through the threads, I have criticised it a lot.

I do think, though, that Brown, or his sources, made some good ~ or, at least, interesting ~ points, that were worth following up.

I think that this was one of them.

Quote:
... the "V" space is totally incidental ..... Leonardo had no choice but to paint the “space” created by that action exactly the way he did. No hidden meanings, no symbolism for future understanding, no covert expressions of an heretical whisper, just a space, just a space accommodating the action ....


Maybe so.
But Reniassance painting is renowned for its symbolism, is it not?


Edited by Lisa Shea (12/29/12 11:26 PM)
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#351879 - 02/14/09 07:18 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Berzelmayr Offline
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Sorry, I wanted to reply much earlier, but then I had a little computer crash shortly before my answer was ready.... eek

Originally Posted By: PDM
To be honest, I wonder if this is really worth debating, because we shall probably never know, for certain, what was going on on Leonardo's mind and what was influencing him.

Sure, but we can tell the people with good conscience that Dan Brown's ideas don't match the things that Leonardo and other Renaissance artists have left us (I mean their paintings, sketches, writings, etc.)


Originally Posted By: PDM
As for effeminate-looking young boys, there is no need to try to convince me, personally, because I know that this is so.

I don't really use the term "effeminate" as you may have noticed. But I understand that many people don't want to follow me here. wink


Originally Posted By: PDM
Like others, he may well have decided that the 'beloved disciple' referred to John,

Who didn't believe that actually? (5 centuries ago)


Originally Posted By: PDM
On the other hand, some people ~ rightly or wrongly ~ have interpreted Leonardo as something of a rebel, who had problems with church dogma.

He was also very clever.

Heretical ideas were flowing around Renaissance Florence.
A number of Renaissance paintings are known to contain symbolism and, perhaps, 'hidden messages'.

If Leonardo had heard some of the heretical stories, and wanted to include them in his paintings, then he would have been intelligent & talented enough to include them, secretly.

He may not have done ~ but it isn't impossible.

Well, if those Dominican monks from Milan, who saw Leonardo's work every day, had like Dan Brown thought that this would be "clearly a woman", then he would have been the opposite of clever, especially since fighting heresy was traditionally a job of this monastic order. If he wanted to make some kind of heretic joke then using one of the teenage boys, he liked in a way people from the following century already thought he would, as a model for "the beloved disciple" then this would be more realistic and also much more on the safe side, since those monks or other people surely couldn't identify Salai or other possible models.


Originally Posted By: PDM
Can we see anything that makes us wonder, when we look at Leonardo's 'Last Supper'?

Well, certainly some people can.

They wonder why the boy who is supposed to be sitting in the lap of Jesus is leaning away from him.

See Grrr82CU's answer. It's just about depicting different moments from those lines that describe what happened at the Last Supper.


Originally Posted By: PDM
They wonder why Leonardo left that noticeable 'V' shape between them.

Maybe there is even a 'V' and a 'M' and maybe it stands for 'Vergine Maria' as Jesus has declared some kind of last will at the cross that his mother shall also become the mother of "the beloved disciple". That would make at least more sense that trying to put Mary Magdalene into this picture so obsessively as Dan Brown does.


Originally Posted By: PDM
They wonder why John looks so much like some of Leonardo's female models.

If we compare this figure with others then we'll see that although there's some similarity between this disciple and the heads of Leonardo's women, the resemblance with several figures that are male (especially the naughty "angel incarnate") is bigger.


Originally Posted By: PDM
I cannot tell the difference between Mary Magdalene and St John in these two paintings.
Why should that be?
Why were they painted as twins?

Well, that's these tendency in Renaissance art to give saints this (see my last post) overly youthful look as to say "a beautiful soul lives in a beautuful body" (and that is actually more an old Greek than a Judeo-Christian idea wink


Originally Posted By: PDM
Maybe, if I could understand that, then I would be better able to understand why Leonaerdo painted his St John looking exactly like another Mary ~ the mother of Jesus.

Not "exactly". As I said before, John resembles much more the young males of Leonardo's paintings and drawings (compare especially the noses and hairlines).
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#351895 - 02/14/09 11:54 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Berzelmayr]
PDM Offline


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I still do not see why Renaissance artists would make John and Mary virtually indistinguishable from each other.

I still think that The Beloved Disciple looks more like Mary, in the two Virgin of the Rocks paintings, than like any of Leonardo's other models.
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#351963 - 02/14/09 04:38 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Berzelmayr Offline
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Here's a comparision of the disciple John with other pictures of young males made by Leonardo or at least after him to make clear what I meant:



(#2 is the Angel Incarnate - supposedly with Salai's look, #3 is maybe a work by one of Leonardo's students and is said to be a portrait of Salai and then we have him some years older as St. John the Baptist, #5 is even attributed to Salai as a copy after the painting by his master)


Edited by Berzelmayr (02/14/09 04:39 PM)
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#352015 - 02/15/09 06:49 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Berzelmayr]
PDM Offline


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I do think that these males also look a lot like the paintings of Mary, in the Virgin of the Rocks.

I hadn't seen 'number 5' before ~ that is more like 'the beloved'.

How do you know that they are of Salai?

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#352019 - 02/15/09 06:59 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
PDM Offline


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I just want to clarify something.

I have absolutely no idea whether Leonardo meant anything by the way he painted 'the beloved disciple'.

I have no idea who the model was ~ male or female.

I have no idea whether 'John' only looks a bit girlish because we are looking through modern eyes.

I am not arguing for or against the idea that Leonardo was presenting 'the beloved disciple' as a female ~ Mary Magdalene.

I am simply saying that people are asking the questions and they have the right to do so.

By asking questions, we gain insight and knowledge.

Experts may think that they have all the answers, but that is not necessarily so.

If experts become blinkered to possibilities, then knowledge may stagnate.

I respect the knowledge of experts, but I do think that they need to keep their minds open to alternative ideas.

That's all, really.

I am interested in the information that I have gained through the thread, though. smile
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#419871 - 11/03/11 05:43 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: PDM]
Grrr82CU Offline
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Registered: 09/04/07
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Hi PDM - just in case you have reason to visit this topic again I wanted to tell you that I just left a note in the "Fatal Flaw" series on 11/03/11.

I don't want to repeat all that here because that would be unnecessary duplication - so this is just to ask you to look in "Leonardo's Painting - A Fatal Flaw?" thread for what I just posted for you smile
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#421013 - 12/25/11 12:43 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
Grrr82CU Offline
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Registered: 09/04/07
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A temporary problem has developed regarding the display of certain links/URLs used to retriev picturs stored on Photobucket which will hopefully be resolved soon.

{Regrettably a number of other links have become non-functional over time as presumably either no longer offered by the source or have changed to another server).

In the mean time with regard to those links/pictures stored on Photobucket - in place of where those pictures are supposed to be visible is a "square" from Photobucket advising the "bandwidth has been exceeded".

If you click on that "square" the picture that is supposed to display can usually still be displayed. This "bandwidth" issue should be corrected and the pictures restored and visible by the end of the year if not before.

And....Grrr82CU !!
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#425917 - 12/26/12 03:40 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
Grrr82CU Offline
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Registered: 09/04/07
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I have just discovered that the entire "founding post" setting up the topic for discussion is missing !!!

I have alerted PDM as of 12/26/27

Hopefully this is the result of some technical "glitch" or server down for repair and will be restored quickly for those coming to read the topic.
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#425921 - 12/26/12 09:23 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
Lisa Shea Online   content


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Registered: 10/20/04
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I've been working on the issue of UniCode characters choking the system since the upgrade.

I've now got it to the point where the posts display, but with the characters not showing properly. A step forward, but not perfect. I'll keep at it until I can get them to display fully.
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#425926 - 12/28/12 05:14 AM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Lisa Shea]
Grrr82CU Offline
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Loc: Chicago, IL
Thanks for the note on this Lisa.

I know the problem doesn't stand a chance with you working on it smile
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#425938 - 12/29/12 11:26 PM Re: The "Beloved Disciple" - Was Not Mary Magdalene [Re: Grrr82CU]
Lisa Shea Online   content


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I believe I've fixed this thread now. Let me know if there are any issues remaining in it.
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