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10 Great Works of Art With Astonishing Secret Meanings

Besides being delightful to our senses, art, in any form, is designed to provoke our feelings, thoughts, and understanding of things. The creative art geniuses are known to present art over the years as more than the beautiful picture as they incorporate more meaning in their paintings than readily meets the eyes. The work of Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, which is text that tries to solve grand conspiracies in the past 2000 years, evoked unprecedented outburst on the internet with people trying to solve the mysteries of great pieces of art. The attempt encompasses grand conspiracy theories involving Mona Lisa to aliens in Renaissance paintings among other works of art. Despite many theories about the works of art, not all of them are easily cracked, some of them contain incredible secrets that are mind-blowing. In this article, we focus on ten great works of art with astonishing secret meanings.

L. S. Lowry Works

L. S. Lowry Works

The works of L.S. Lowry portray diverse scenes of the mid-20th-century urban life in England, northwest London. One of the characteristic signatures of Lowry paintings is the matchstick men and women industrialized urban setting paintings of crowds. Many artists and the creative world of his time dismissed his works for trial reasons. It is apparent that the people of his era rejected Lowry’s artwork because they could not harness meaning/sense from the painting because of his sadistic style of hiding the purpose of his work. A great deal of his artwork contains deeply hidden astonishing flashes of human suffering.

Many decades after his demise, his work has received more acceptance in the history of art as the hidden meanings are siphoned out. In the paint, An Accident, Lowry depicts a crowd of people gathering around the lake gazing at an unknown object within their midst. The painting is not entirely about that because the community suicide inspired the scene and the crowd is supposedly looking at a pile of waterlogged corpses. In Fists Tight, it illustrates people being evicted from their homes, a case of isolation. The painting still representing the matchstick crowd of people going around with their lives unaware of misery and suffering coming on their doorsteps. The hidden message this and other of Lowry paintings is the aspect of loneliness, suffering, and pain. In the modern society of industrial England, the word imbued in Lowry paintings is evident.[1]

The Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Michelangelo

Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Michelangelo rose to fame during the Renaissance period, the time characterized by learning, discovery, and desire to stir the Greek spirit of science and inquiry. Many artists during this period fancied incorporating hidden items, features in their work for the sharp-eyed/eagle-eyed viewers to discover. The Sistine Chapel Ceiling was based or inspired by nine old testament scenes and more than 300 anatomical life-like structures engraved in the painting. The artist was a genius in sculpture, architect, and anatomist, though few people knew about his excellent skills in human anatomy. The paint is scattered with different parts of human anatomy that only eagle-eyed scientists can pinpoint and understand them. For one, the figure of the brain hidden in the image of God, where the angel rope intertwines him, and cloud behind God — interpreting it to signify God was bequeathing intelligence to humankind. One of the angel’s feet is hasped like the dual loped pituitary glands of the kidney.

Further, Michelangelo represented eight times the female uterus in the form of the ram’s head throughout the painting according to clinical anatomists. The eight triangles are facing downward simplifying or alluding to the sacred feminine. The question remains why should he hide scientific anatomical features in the Christian panting at the time when the church was in contempt about science. The genius artist attempted an act of defiance to the church regarding their views and perception of science and scientists in the world.[2]

Paintings Within Paintings

Paintings Within Paintings
Man Writing a Letter/Women Reading a Letter, Gabriel Metsu, 1664-66, National Gallery of Ireland

The Dutch golden age paintings emerge second just behind the Italian renaissance’s era. The main themes and genres covered by the Dutch artists are routine activities or scenes of daily chores. There was, however, more than this. The portraits capture other paintings in the scenes, bringing the concept of “paintings within paintings.” The art in the background is understood to be a coded message to help the viewer interpret the message of the artist. For one, The Slippers by Samuel van Hoogstraten gives a first glance view of an empty hallway with two slippers. A closer look the viewer notices the Father Admonishing his Daughter by Nietzsche in the background, the sandals are not a pair, and the broom left to the side suggest a woman was cleaning.

The work is an allegory lust temptation. It signifies that the unmatched slippers, and the father admonishing her daughter, along with a cleaning broom abandoned by the side, represents man and woman are busy in the bedroom having sex. While the Love Letter by Vermeer, illustrates two paintings, a man on the road meaning the woman is receiving the latter. The ship at sea is calm meaning good news information, but the ominous clouds behind the ship imply terrible news is coming. Mean other Dutch works of art demonstrates the same trend, for instance, interpret the Man Writing A Letter/Woman Reading A Letter painting by Gabriel Metsu.[3]

El Autobus by Frida Kahlo

works of art - Frida Kahlo's El Autobus

The picture portrays the Mexican society comprising of men, women, children, and white-collar worker. The woman in the far right is probably Frida Kahlo, and all the subjects are sitting across the wooden bench side by side were involved in a horrible accident in 1925 with the painter Kahlo. The painting, El Autobus is about the crash, and it is painted just before boarding the bus. The white-collar workman is depicted as the man who saved Kahlo’s life by pulling out the handrail from her broken body. The viewer is unlikely to understand the subject, as contrary to heading home, the subjects in the paint are led into a terrific violent encounter with fate. Many other works of Kahlo reference to the accident she was involved in 1925.[4]

Cafe Terrace at Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night

The painting Cafe Terrace at Night represents one of Vincent van Gogh‘s favorite and instrumental painting of all time. He referenced the picture to his brother as he was in ‘tremendous need of a religion’ and have attracted divided opinion of interpretations. The most recent theory on Cafe Terrace at Night painting has seen elite scholars implying that the painting illustrates significant signs about The Last Supper.

Among the reasons the Cafe Terrace at Night painting is associated with the last supper, is that van Gogh was a very religious artist, and most of his pictures illustrated a binary relationship between Christian imagery and art. Secondly, the last supper was about Jesus, and his disciples are having a final meal, if you count the people in the painting, 12 men are sitting, and a central long haired white rope figure is standing among them. Probably Jesus. Finally, the cross signs in the art add to the theory that van Gogh was indeed in tremendous need of religion and he painted the Last Supper.[5]

An Allegory With Venus and Cupid by Agnolo Bronzino

An Allegory With Venus and Cupid by Agnolo Bronzino

The painting demonstrated Venus and Cupid are getting it on while a bald guy is watching, in the background a man screaming giving the piece the unsettling impression. Many have considered Agnolo Bronzino’s painting An Allegory with Venus And Cupid as the most erotic painting during the renaissance era, and even in contemporary modern society. The underlying meaning, however, is scary, as it is considered to be a warning of syphilis.
The men in the background that appear to be screaming and the other one looking sad, are the signs that result in the conclusion of syphilis illness.

The child showering the ladies, Venus and Cupid with flowers appear to have been pierced with roses but does not seem to notice, the sign of painless sores attributed to syphilis symptoms. The one glance interpretation of the screaming men in the background would be jealousy lovers, but closer extermination shows the men are very sick. Therefore, the central message of the painting is a warning about syphilis if one gets carried away with lust feelings. The art was at the time when syphilis was the new plague in Europe without bacteriology screening to cure it, and it was a killer disease.[6]

The Music Lesson by Johannes Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer painting The Music Lesson depicts a young woman touching the keys of the virginal musical instrument associated with purity appearing to be studying while her tutor looks on. A closer examination of the painting you will notice she is looking at her male tutor in the mirror, distracted by the only male presence in the room. The pitcher of wine on the table is associated with intensifying sexual feelings or aphrodisiac, the large stringed musical instrument on the floor is a phallic symbol even in modern society. Therefore, the underlying meaning of the painting is kinky as all the small clues in the background points at raw sexual tension between the young woman and her tutor.[7]

A Satyr Mourning Over a Nymph by Piero Di Cosimo

Satyr Mourning Over a Nymph

The painting by Piero di Cosimo, A Satyr Mourning Over A Nymph is assumed to represent a scene from Ovid, metamorphose. The renaissances artist picks the scene where the hunter, Cephalus confuses her wife Procris with a wild beast and drives a spear into her, killing her. However, the Cosimo’s paintings have one weakness; the killing of Procris does not appear accidental at all.

The scenes surrounding the painting pints at a brutal murder rather than a romantic scene accident according to professor Michael Baum. For one, Procris has a laceration on her hand indicating an attempt to fend off a knife attack, and her left side is in a waiter’s tip position that is evident in murder victims with broken cervical cord point C3 and C4. Also, the neck wound is consistent with C3 and C4 positions. Therefore, A Satyr Mourning Over A Nymph is a portrayal of a brutal knife fight murder instead of what many perceive as the romantic accident scene.[8]

Isabella by John Everett Millais

The artist is popularly known for Ophelia, as the light during his timer, the pre-Raphaelite era. In 2012, a researcher uncovered a hidden secret in one of John Everett Millais paintings, Isabella which changed the perception of many artistic researchers. In the art which represents characters from the Boccaccio Decameron sitting around a table feasting. It also includes a hidden aspect that looks like a shadow of an erection.

The persona on the left background of the painting is extending one leg and using the Nutcracker; an eagle eye observation reveals that the nutcrackers shadow intersects perfectly with his crotch, causing a sense of overenthusiasm in him. The scene is taken from the Decameron, the most famous erotic text of its time. The painting illuminates different small aspects of phallic representation, for one extended leg meant to be phallic while a pile of salt spilled around the reaction shadow is a depiction of semen. The painting is dark and dirty to the extent that one can get without actually drawing porn in the art industry.[9]

Primavera by Sandro Botticelli

Primavera by Sandro Botticelli

La Primavera is one of the famous, and informative paintings in Florence’s Uffizi gallery and it is as well the strangest painting in the gallery. The image represents a group of women in heaven like a meadow and has presented the fiercest theories and debates over its symbolic message. Among the most urged argument about the La Primavera painting is it’s the claim that it is all about horticulture. The evidence encompasses the strange and the mind-blowing expertise to detail demonstrated by the artist. For one, an approximation of over 500 recognizable plants with more than 200 diverse species. Some researchers conquer that they represent all plant growth during the 15th century that flower between March and May. Other experts claim the plant species encompass the fantasy plants growing the Botticelli’s mind. Honestly, the painting represents more horticultural aspect that high culture in any society.[10]

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