Archive for October, 2014

Analysis: Leonardo’s “Virgin of the Rocks”

October 24, 2014

By dint of synchronicity, our study of Botticelli’s Madonna del Magnificat led us straight to examination of this painting by Leonardo da Vinci, of which there are two versions. According to historians, Virgin of the Rocks, a/k/a Madonna of the Rocks (Louvre version) was created in or about the same year as Madonna del Magnificat: circa 1483 (see Image File #55). Some consider it his most important work. Considering that Leonardo is known to have held Botticelli’s work in high esteem, and because they shared more than casual initiation into matters arcane, we looked at Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks (Louvre version first) with an eye toward finding the kind of secrets-in-plain-sight present in many of Botticelli’s works. We were not disappointed.

PluribusOne™ concludes that the pyramidal cluster of figures in both versions—the one in the Louvre and the one in the National Gallery in London—does not depict Mary, Jesus, John, and an angel, as officially and commonly accepted. The heretofore presumed angelic figure is Mary, supporting her child, Jesus, and the figure taken to be Mary is actually Elizabeth similarly steadying her son, John. The four are members of a team working to fulfill a long-term plan. The perspective of the mothers, reflected in Leonardo’s arrangement of the figures, is not that of followers of mainstream Christian doctrine. The painting’s title was not supplied by the painter, and it fosters misdirection because the greater emphasis is actually on Elizabeth.

The wilderness setting—deemed inexplicable and termed “unprecedented” by historians—is rocky and desolate in both versions, reflecting (we say) information being held in seclusion, kept apart from common knowledge. Clandestine meetings among the inner-circle participants, all of whom shared the same genetic heritage and agenda, are also inferred. More significant and unarguable is that, John, like Moses, had been a “voice in the wilderness,” which resounds in their shared genetic history and mission. The overall scene has an ascetic gnostic flavor that stands in stark contrast to the lavish urban Cathedrals of orthodoxy erected by Leonardo’s day.

Ancillary to our core analysis, details of which we hold as proprietary for now, we see that two separate side panels to the main painting by Leonardo present two angels, and these angels have wings. Although the side panels were made by different artists, it remains surprisingly inconsistent that all angels in the overall composition would not have wings (see Image File #56). Wings are not seen in Leonardo’s painting. The “angel” figure is the Madonna.

The standard description of this painting is that it depicts adoration of John for Jesus, but the painting’s focus is mainly on Elizabeth and John, who are positioned higher and to the right (from within the scene) which is why Mary, dressed in red in the Louvre version, is pointing at John while looking out toward the viewer to reinforce her directive to focus on him. Elizabeth, dressed in blue, holds her left hand over Jesus’ head, palm down, joining in John’s adoration. The index/first finger of Mary’s right hand—her finger and thumb form a J, or hook, like the hand in Leonardo’s painting: St. John the Baptist—joins force with the fingers of Jesus’ right hand which are forming the gesture for conferring blessing. These gestures of Mary and Elizabeth are resonant in tandem elsewhere:

The artist Raphael, an apparent fellow secret society member, used corresponding elements in his Vatican fresco: The School of Athens (see Image File #57), in which the central figures are men: Plato and Aristotle. Aristotle, wearing red, points his right index finger skyward, forming the same gesture as Mary, except that his thumb is hidden from view. Plato, wearing blue, holds one hand with palm down, like the figure of Elizabeth in Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks. This indicates, either by design or synchronicity, the intersection of paganism and ethical philosophy that became embedded in Christian theology and doctrine. By correspondence with The School of Athens, John and Jesus represent the intersection of the mystical and practical, vision and governance—a Hermetic merger of Heaven and Earth: Kingdom Come.

In the National Gallery version, Mary and Elizabeth are both garbed in blue and Mary is not joining with Jesus in praising John, nor is she inviting the viewer to do so. Her gaze is lowered and her robe is also adjusted. The significant changes made in this second version all serve to alter and mask the identity of the figure we have identified as Mary and to remove her action. This is not simply a stylistic variation. But until now, after more than 500 years, no one outside of the secret society into which Leonardo (and Botticelli and, apparently, Raphael) had been initiated seems to have realized what the first painting (Louvre version) occultly displays. Nor have they understood the significance of the differences found in the National Gallery version.

The painting as commissioned by the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception was supposed to show Jesus and Mary and two prophets, which is what Leonardo essentially did render, but not in a manner uninitiated Christians would/could recognize. The earlier Louvre version was delivered to a patron other than the Confraternity, its meaning substantially occulted except to the initiated eye; therefore, that person was, most likely, a fellow secret society member. The second (National Gallery) version, which was accepted by the Confraternity, was even more deeply occulted by erasure of the clues that the “angel” is actually Mary and that the message of the painting is primarily intended to revere John and Elizabeth.