Monday, May 15, 2006

Da Vinci Code V

On Friday, May 12, I attended a showing at Calvary Chapel of D. James Kennedy’s new documentary refuting the errors in the Da Vinci Code, entitled The Da Vinci Deception. This was a good documentary of this sort and I recommend that people see it. The thing that I thought was particularly effective was that the documentary incorporated humor rather than taking everything too seriously.

One of the points made in The Da Vinci Deception that I’ve also seen in other books and items refuting the errors in the Da Vinci Code dealt with the way in which the Apostle John is depicted in art. In art from the Renaissance, the Apostle John is usually depicted as young and clean shaven with long hair. To modern eyes this makes him look somewhat feminine. Brown took advantage of this to claim that Leonardo's painting of John in the "Last Supper" is really a picture of Mary Magdalene.

After I watched The Da Vinci Deception, I had the opportunity to go to the Los Angeles Museum of Art the very next day in order to visit a special exhibition of some excellent paintings by Gustav Klimt as well as the general collection. In looking at depictions of the Apostle John in both medieval and Renaissance art, I was able to verify exactly what had been said about the depiction of John as a young man. Either John is commonly depicted as a somewhat feminine looking young man with no beard and long hair, or every work of art was actually depicting Mary Magdalene and no Apostle John. Of course the other problem would be not merely that nobody really believed that Mary Magdalene was depicted in the Last Supper, but also there is the problem that if all of these depictions of John are really depictions of Mary, there aren’t enough disciples. You would end up with ten disciples (Judas already being missing in most of the works) rather than the appropriate eleven. In addition, I did see a number of paintings that also do depict Mary Magdalene intentionally. She is not ignored in the world of church art. But she is depicted in a different way from the youthful Apostle John. In all of the art actually depicting Mary Magdalene, she is clearly identifiable as a woman. And in none of it is she in any way depicted as the spouse of Jesus or as having her own children or child.

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