You can never take art at face value. Many artists weave hidden symbols and meanings into their work. Some come across right away, while others take years to uncover. And then there are the conspiracy theories! As it turns out, even the most iconic masterpieces could have mysterious stories surrounding them. Here are some of the most shocking claims made about some of the world’s best-known works of art.
20. Not everyone at the Last Supper was a man
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper covers a massive swathe of wall space at Milan’s Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The Renaissance Man created his famed artwork – one of the most recognizable in the world – in the late 15th century. And it seems to depict Jesus as he informs his 12 disciples that one of them will betray him.
Hidden by the Catholic Church?
However, some believe that da Vinci’s rendition of the Last Supper told a different story. They see the person next to Jesus not as a disciple, but as Mary Magdalene. Backing up this theory is the fact that a V-shape appears between the two figures, a symbol of the womb. Da Vinci may have wanted to highlight the theory that Jesus was actually married to Mary Magdalene — and that that fact was hidden by the Catholic Church.
19. Dalí didn’t get too deep with The Persistence of Memory
A painting that shows clocks melting in the sun sounds deep, right? Experts attempted to peel back the layers of Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory. And many thought the artist wanted to show that space and time were relative: the wilting, dripping clocks meant to say that there was no cosmic order.
It's just cheese!
Unlike many of the other theories on this list, Salvador Dalí himself had the chance to debunk interpretations of his painting. Namely, someone asked if he used The Persistence of Memory as commentary on the theory of special relativity. The artist said no, instead revealing that the melting clocks were just his surrealist take on Camembert cheese melting beneath the sun’s rays.