The Da Vinci Commode

A commode found in the basement of an abandoned French farmhouse during its recent demolition is believed by experts in forensics to have been used by Leonardo da Vinci more than five-hundred years ago. 

The left-buttock mark found on the surface of the commode appears to match a buttock mark known to have been made by Leonardo when he accidentally sat on the “Mona Lisa” painting—an event recorded in his private journal. That “Mona Lisa Mark,” as it is now known, was found in 2006 by a technician using a digital scanner. A similar scan of the commode indicates—with 97% certainty—a match to that earlier find. The measure of uncertainty is due to the fact that the painting had been squatted upon at a slightly different angle. The commode, deemed worthless by the demolition crew, is now valued by art historians at nearly eighty million dollars. 

Is the foregoing report true? No, but it might be true in the next few years as hopeful art treasure hunters continue their frenzied pace, scouring cobweb-infested attics and musty root cellars for opportunities to make a quick few hundred-mil. 

In 2009, art experts actually did discover a previously unrecognized da Vinci painting: “Profile of the Bella Principessa.” Its value rocketed from a mere nineteen thousand dollars to more than one-hundred fifty million after a Montreal-based forensic art expert using multispectral images produced by Luminere Technology in Paris was able to match a fingerprint found on the Bella Principessa painting to a fingerprint found on Leonardo’s “St. Jerome in the Wilderness.” The interesting thing to us is that the painting had not been identified sooner, considering that it has—in so many ways—the look and feel of a da Vinci. It took a uniquely perceptive art collector, Peter Silverman, to sense what countless others had failed to even suspect—kudos to him. 

Unlike Silverman’s discovery, however, a painting just found in a Scottish farmhouse—a painting believed by some to portray Mary Magdalene holding a male toddler—is almost certainly not the work of Leonardo da Vinci despite the reported exclamatory gasps of first-viewers. Looking only at images published online, we detect strong indications that this is not Leonardo’s work. The strongest argument (which we are withholding for now) has to do with an essential element of the composition. Yet there are similarities to his style, enough to indicate that the painter was either of the da Vinci “school” or a later admirer of those artists. A faded papal bull with the word “Magdalene” is said to have been found attached to the back of the painting. Get the red phone and call Dan Brown. 

We will wait for the results of ongoing analyses of what might be called “Mary Magdalene and Son with Some Other Kid” before deciding whether to publish any details of our analysis. If the experts at Cambridge University and the Hamilton Kerr Institute fail to identify the element that we consider to be the fatal flaw, we will add a bracketed paragraph or two below. 

Meanwhile, I plan to busy myself pasting faded papal bulls onto the backs of all my da Vinci posters…


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2 Responses to “The Da Vinci Commode”

  1. Sara B. Good Says:

    Hilarious. Absurd enough to be true. Where can I get a map of abandoned French farmhouses?

  2. PluribusOne™ Says:

    First, you need to look on the bottom side of old park benches near landmark churches in London until you find a faded papal bull with something cryptic penciled in the margin—something like Jesus, Jr., or G. Bruno, or Walt Raleigh. Maps are generally found on the backside of those. Happy hunting.

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