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ARTS > British historian suggests Da Vinci used his own face in famed painting

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Two apostles in da Vinci’s famous painting ‘The Last Supper’ depict his own face, according to British art historian Ross King.

Two apostles in da Vinci’s famous painting ‘The Last Supper’ depict his own face, according to British art historian Ross King.

British art historian Ross King has presented new evidence which he believes shows that Leonardo da Vinci used his own face for two apostles, Thomas and James, in his famous mural, “The Last Supper,” British Daily Mail has reported.

Yet, ironically, art experts still have relatively little idea what Da Vinci himself looked like.
Because the Renaissance genius left no self-portraits from his youth, academics have been forced to explore their suspicions that he may have placed his image into one of his own masterpieces.

Greek nose with flowing hair and long beard

Now one art historian believes he has uncovered new evidence that the great man inserted himself not once, but twice, into his famous mural, “The Last Supper.”

King, the author of the international best-seller “Brunelleschi’s Dome,” makes reference to a poem written in the 1490s, when Leonardo was painting “The Last Supper,” by his friend Gasparo Visconti. In it, Visconti makes fun of an unnamed artist for putting his image into his works “however handsome it may be.”

King also cites the famous portrait of a man in red chalk, sketched around 1515, which is thought to show Da Vinci in his advancing years.

He has a Greek nose, flowing hair and a long beard, much like the faces of the apostles Thomas and James the Lesser in the 500-year-old painting. Thomas’s upturned finger was also considered by contemporaries as a trademark Leonardo gesture.

King told the Independent: “’The Last Supper’ is the only work that no one, either crackpot or academic, has tried to identify as a Leonardo portrait.”

Renowned Da Vinci scholar Charles Nicholl said, “Of all the apostles that [Leonardo] would wish to be identified with, I think Doubting Thomas would be at the top of his list because Leonardo was a great believer in asking questions rather than accepting what people tell you.”

August/20/2012

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