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Are mirrors the key behind Leonardo Da Vinci’s astounding mastery?

Behind Da Vinci’s art, there is a great mystery that could be explained by the use of mirrors.

Leonardo Da Vinci was highly praised at his time for his career as a painter, anatomist, architect, writer, botanist, artist, philosopher, sculptor, urban planner, poet, and musician. However, through time he has also been recognized for his innovative ideas, so much so that he is considered the main representative of the Renaissance era and one of the most important geniuses in history.

The history of Da Vinci stands out for the multiple areas in which he managed to develop due to his insatiable curiosity for knowledge. He invented many mechanical and scientific discoveries, specifically for the accuracy of the human body that can be glimpsed in his notes, studies that were forbidden in his time.

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The precision of his illustrations

Within his notes, which were not only of a scientific nature, a constant was found that immediately captured the curiosity of many artists and scientists. It was discovered that some annotations in his notebooks were written in the opposite way to the conventional way in which we write: from left to right.

This has been one of the greatest mysteries in Da Vinci’s life and has given rise to various speculations as to why he wrote that way. Among them, it is thought that Leonardo was left-handed, and at the time in which the writings were made, ink was used, then to avoid ruining his works, he made his notes with the help of a mirror, since this would avoid making a mess; another theory is that Da Vinci, wrote at the same time he made the illustrations in his notebook that would allow him to explain in a better and illustrated way what he was trying to convey and do it more clearly.

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The mystery within his paintings

Besides being a scientist, he was also involved in everything related to art, not only poetry and music, but he also made very famous paintings such as the Gioconda, one of the most recognized artworks in history.

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But his paintings were not only characterized by the techniques used in the process but also, fans of his work have realized that his works have a complexity that, at first glance, can not be deciphered. That is why, and the precedent of his notes in reverse, it was discovered that with a “mirror effect” is possible to glimpse a new meaning within the paintings.

An example of this is the painting he made with his master Verrocchio called The Annunciation. This painting portrays the quote from the bible in which the angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she is expecting the son of the Holy Spirit.

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This painting contains two mysteries. When it was scanned with x-rays, the only element of the work that did not disappear, was the angel, the reasons why this happens are not known, it is only assumed that the paint, with which the angel was made, was of a different material than the rest of the work.

Another of the mysteries is precisely that of the mirror effect since if the image is viewed in Photoshop, by duplicating it, giving it the mirror effect, and reducing the opacity of both images, it can be seen that there is a figure in the center of the work that happens to be sitting on a throne, in addition to creating a light with a circular shape around the head, creating an effect in the style in which the saints were painted.

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Undoubtedly, Da Vinci was a man who contributed too much in many fields of study thanks to his wide imagination and his insatiable curiosity, but his works have been involved in a series of speculations that may be true or just that we are constantly looking for a new way to interpret things.

Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva

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