More than a decade ago, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper became the subject of both mystery and debate after The Da Vinci Code spurred theories on the role of Mary Magdalene and ‘The Holy Grail.’
While the claims made in the fictional story are far from the truth, experts now say the painting holds a few real-life secrets of its own.
Built into The Last Supper is a subtle message that sets it apart from other paintings of its kind – though earlier artwork depicted the 13 subjects as saints, da Vinci’s work suggests the disciples were common people, and that Jesus himself was actually mortal.
While da Vinci’s painting may be the most widely recognized, it is not the only version of The Last Supper, the Smithsonian Channel explains.
There are numerous other renditions of Jesus and the 12 disciples that preceded da Vinci’s 15th century painting.
And, all others have one thing in common which sets them apart from their successor – halos.
In da Vinci’s version of this scene, not even Jesus is shown to have a halo around his head.
“Before Leonardo da Vinci, all versions of The Last Supper showed Jesus and his disciples with halos, in effect, portraying them as saints,” the video explains.
But, da Vinci chose to ignore this convention and paint them without halos.”
Choosing to omit halos in his painting was a way of sending a message, explains Mario Taddei, a Milan-based inventor and expert on the works of da Vinci.
The researcher has spent 15 years analyzing the artist’s work.
According to Taddei, the people depicted in da Vinci’s painting are not saints but are instead “simple men,” implying that Jesus, too, was mortal.
“I believe that Leonardo never put the halos because he thinks that the people are common people, and this is the true secret of Leonardo,” Taddei explains in the video.
“There is no extraterrestrial or supernatural object inside the last supper. Leonardo wants to tell us that the thirteen men are simple men. And this said something much more powerful.”
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