Current Developments in History and Art History
For a change something positive about the art history of the Renaissance!
At least until 1912 the portrait on the left had the correct title: "Beatrice d'Este" (see: Edgcumbe Staley: Lords and Ladies of the Italian Lakes, London 1912, opposite of page 236), before one of the "experts" amongst the art historians changed it into "Barbara Pallavicino". And as is usual in the art world this nonsense was then regurgitated again and again with strong conviction. When you search for portraits of Beatrice d'Este on the Internet, you will not find this most important one of her any longer (except of course on my page). It was made by her Milanese court painter Ambrogio de Predis in 1495. But this portrait is an identification portrait and therefore easily to identify as "Beatrice d'Este". Everyone who knows the symbols or emblems of the Sforza therefore is capable of identifying this young lady. To my astonishment the art historians in the Uffizi (Florence), where this portrait is located, already put a question mark behind the title "Barbara Pallavicino". So they are not any longer 100% sure that the depicted is "Barbara Pallavicino". And in the Christ Church Gallery (Oxford) you find a copy of the portrait on the right, which still has the correct title "Beatrice d'Este". The centre image is a bust of Beatrice d'Este which is completely decorated with symbols or emblems of the Sforza and the Este.
Another Masterpiece of Incompetence!
I can't hardly believe that the art historians after the time of ten years are still unable to admit that they made a big mistake regarding the identity of the young woman on the picture of the left side, because they do not know the history of the past, do not know the different members of the dynasties of the Renaissance and their coats-of-arms, symbols or emblems. You would expect ten years is a lot of time to fill up this knowledge gap. But - it seems - not long enough for the art historians, who only know two rules. 1: Art historians are always correct with their opinions, suggestions and feelings towards the great works of art in the Renaissance. 2. If they are wrong, immediately rule Number 1 comes into effect: they are always correct. Thus today I read regarding the portrait of the young woman the following in the book: "Kings, Queens, and Courtiers - Art in Early Renaissance France" (New Haven and London 2011): "Although sometimes identified as Suzanne de Bourbon, the only child of Jean Hey's patrons Pierre II of Bourbon and Anne of France, the somber subject of his refined portrait must be the Habsburg princess Margaret of Austria [why must? - because one of your colleagues made this stupid suggestion? see above rule No. 2]. The alternating enamel C's and M's that edge her underdress and her large fleur-de-lis pendant support this identification. The scallop shells on her cap probably relate to the French royal order of Saint Michael." (p. 126) And now my answer to this: (yes, I still haven't given up my hope that art historians are capable of learning!): 1. The Symbol of the fleur-de-lis can not only be used by the French Kings and Queens, but also by the members of the dynasty of the Bourbons (have you ever looked at the coat-of-arms of the Bourbons? It's not so difficult to do this!) 2. The Symbol of the shell is an emblem of the Bourbons, which indeed can also be found as a Symbol in the French royal Order of Saint Michael. By the way, no woman in the past was allowed to decorate herself with this Order. Due to the Symbol of the shell we know that the depicted young woman belonged to the dynasty of the Bourbon. 3. The painter did not use the letter (or enamels) of "C" and "M" to tell us something about her, but "C" and "II", which means "Charles II", who was the cousin and husband of Suzanne of Bourbon. Her portrait was made by the court painter of her parents, Jean Hey, when she married Charles II in 1505. The art historians should really have a look at the contemporary sources of the 15th and 16th centuries to learn what the letter "M" looked like instead of repeatedly copying this nonsense. I don't think that this is an unreasonable demand, or is it? But now my dear readers have a look at the portraits of Margaret of Austria (= Margarete von Österreich). Do you see - except of the costume, which was characteristic for the times of Margaret of Austria and Suzanne of Bourbon - any similarities? The art historian Martha Wolff, who is responsible for this above commentary regarding this portrait painting, didn't see it either and therefore used the favourite "idealizing", a tool which is so common by art historians when they do not know who is depicted or when they see no similarities with their suggested person and the depicted one: "... Because other likenesses of Margaret in her childhood and later years survive for comparison, we can see how Hey idealized his sitters." (p. 126) Is this not crude to declare Jean Hey for incompetent to make a realistic portrait of her when in actual fact the art historian herself is completely incompetent? Because Jean Hey made very realistic portraits of Suzanne of Bourbon, whatever her age was (on the right side you see Suzanne when she was around two years old). See more portraits of Suzanne de Bourbon (= Suzanne von Bourbon) here.
Leonardo da Vinci, the musician
La storica: "La Gioconda non è la Monna Lisa ma Isabella d’Aragona"
The following article appeared in FirenzeToday: La Gioconda non è la Monna Lisa ma Isabella d’Aragona
"Il mistero della Gioconda, la risposta nel DNA?"
Marco Ferri wrote the following article about my research in "The National Geographic Online": Il mistero della Gioconda, la risposta nel DNA?
Unfortunately a small error occured: The bust on the right side is not showing Isabella of Aragon. This is one of the many many mistakes done by the art historians. This is Isabella's step-grandmother, Juana of Spain, sister of the famous Spanish King Ferdinand II (the Catholic) and second wife of her cousin, the Neapolitan King Ferrante, Isabella's grandfather. She is the mother of the famous "Lady with the ermine" (= Giovanna of Aragon, Queen of Naples).
"Da Vinci Code"
Penelope Debelle wrote the following article about my research in the magazine "Advertiser - SA Weekend": Da Vinci Code
The "Evil" Menstruation
Here a short description what the people of the ancient Jewish belief thought about the "unholy" body fluids, and especially the menstruation, around the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. Their opinion regarding this matter was taken over by the Christians and accepted for hundreds of centuries at least until the end of the Middle Ages:
"When a man has an emission of semen, he shall bathe his whole body in water and remain unclean until evening. All cloth or leather on which semen falls shall be washed in water and remain unclean until evening ...
When a woman has a discharge, her discharge being blood from her body, she shall remain in her impurity seven days; whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Anything that she lies on during her impurity shall be unclean; and anything that she sits on shall be unclean. Anyone who touches her bedding shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening; and anyone who touches any object on which she has sat shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening. Be it the bedding, or be it the object on which she has sat, on touching it he shall be unclean until evening. ...
When she becomes clean of her discharge, she shall count off seven days, and after that she shall be clean. On the eighth day she shall take two turtle doves or two pigeons, and bring them to the priest at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. The priest shall offer the one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering; and the priest shall make expiation on her behalf, for her unclean discharge, before the Lord." (in: Hughes, Sarah Shaver, and Brady Hughes: Women in World History, Volume 1: Reading from Prehistory to 1500, New York and London 1995, pp. 71-72)
Video about "The Face of Leonardo DaVinci in Renaissance Art" by Derri Sanchez
Video by Derri Sanchez about "Mona Lisa"
"The secret children of Leonardo da Vinci"
Article about the clandestine marriage of Isabella of Aragon and Leonardo da Vinci and their children (by Umberto Pasqui (in Italian)).
Article in "Corriere di Romagna" on 14th April 2010.
About my identification of the "Lady with the Jasmine" (rather the "Lady with the Orange Flowers and the Riario-Rose") as Caterina Sforza, based on the symbols of her house. [newspaper clipping]
Article in "La Voce" about the new painting by Leonardo da Vinci
On 18th October 2009 Umberto Pasqui writes about my attribution of the painting to Leonardo. [newspaper clipping]
New painting of Leonardo da Vinci discovered!
On 13th October 2009 newspapers reported about a newly discovered painting by Leonardo da Vinci. [read more ...]
Conference in Forlì for the 500th anniversary of Caterina Sforza's death.
On 16th May a conference was held in the Italian town of Forlì which was one of Caterina Sforza's seats of government. This conference celebrated the life and times of the "Tigress of Forlì". The commune of Forlì had invited historians and art-historians from Europe and the World. My presentation was about the depiction of Caterina Sforza in contemporary paintings of the Renaissance. Newspaper clippings. Article in "il Momento". Event Poster.
"The true Leonardo !"
On 01/03/09 another article was published in the Italian newspaper La Voce.
Selfportrait of Leonardo da Vinci ???
On 23/02/09 Times online reported about an alleged "newly discovered" portrait or even selfportrait of Leonardo da Vinci. Following that, the Italian newspaper La Voce in Forli published an article about the real selfportrait of Leonardo, which was discovered by me and is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Discovery in der National Gallery of Victoria
My answer to the claim by the National Gallery of Victoria, that they would own the only true portrait of Lucrezia Borgia, which supposedly was painted by Dosso Dossi between 1515 and 1520: [The Age: "Art Detective says the brother did it."]
TV show "The Best House 123" on Japanese television Fuji TV about "Madone de Laroque"
Art experts clash over 'Da Vinci' painting
On 06/11/08 during a press conference in Montpellier in southern France I identified the painting "Madone de Laroque" as the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Italian art-historian Alessandro Vezzosi would not comment this conclusion with "absurd" if he was willing to learn the "language of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance", the symbolism of the high dynasties. [Telegraph.co.uk]
"The Art Detective"
Penelope Debelle wrote the following feature article about my research in the "Adelaide Review" magazine: [PDF-file]
Selfportrait of Leonardo da Vinci
Thanks to Marco Ferri now at least the Florentines can't say they had never heard about the new self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, have a look at: newspaper article
And another article about Isabella of Aragon, this time by the Florentine journalist Letizia Cini of the "La Nazione" newspaper
Unfortunately a small error occurred: The second lady on the picture is not Isabella of Aragon, but her great-granddaughter Costanza Colonna
Leonardo da Vinci's Mother a Slave and of Arab Descent?
On Leonardo's 556th birthday, 12. April 2008, the following article appeared in "The Guardian", an English newspaper: "Da Vinci's mother was a slave, Italian study claims", in which two claims were put forward: 1. according to Francesco Cianchi Leonardo da Vinci's mother was a slave, and 2. according to another Italian academic a fingerprint of the famous painter would show a configuration which can only be found in Arabs. [more ...]
"The Woman behind that Secret Smile"
In June 2004 the Australian newspapers "The Sydney Morning Herald" and "The Age" published the following articles about my research work regarding the identity of Mona Lisa as Isabella of Aragon: "Woman behind that smile stands up" and "Behind that secret smile"